VATICAN CITY (RNS) — Pope Francis celebrated his 85th birthday on Friday by assembly with a dozen migrants and refugees who just lately arrived in Italy because of the intercession of the Vatican, Catholic actions and authorities in Cyprus, the place the pope visited in early December.
“You saved us!” one younger Congolese refugee informed the pope in the course of the personal assembly on the Vatican, based on an announcement despatched to journalists by Vatican spokesperson Matteo Bruni on Friday (Dec. 17).
The group’s deliverance from refugee camps on Cyprus was organized in the course of the Dec. 2-6 papal go to to the Mediterranean nations of Cyprus and Greece, the place Francis spoke repeatedly and generally emotionally concerning the want for rich nations to welcome and combine immigrants. He urged European nations to work collaboratively to make sure the human dignity of asylum seekers and immigrants.
Throughout that journey, the Vatican had announced that the pope could be bringing again with him a bunch of migrants and asylum seekers, as he had performed when he traveled to the Greek island of Lesbos in 2016.
Francis will personally assist the group of migrants coming from Cyprus, the Vatican mentioned, with the help of the lay group of St. Egidio, which additionally helped settle the migrants in 2016. St. Egidio will welcome the present group right into a one-year program aimed toward serving to them discover housing and employment in Italy.
The migrants, a few of whom are docs and laptop technicians, informed the pope about their journeys from their native nations of the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, Somalia and Syria.
The Vatican assertion mentioned that the migrants wished the pope a “lengthy life and good well being” for his birthday and gave him a portray of a refugee from Afghanistan trying to cross perilous Mediterranean waters.
“The pope supplied them individually phrases of welcome and affection and thanked them for the go to,” Bruni mentioned within the assertion.
Throughout his December journey to Greece, the pope met a baby within the Mavrouni refugee camp on Lesbos who shall be coming to Italy within the subsequent few days along with her household to obtain medical care. The pope inquired concerning the younger lady in the course of the assembly on the Vatican, the assertion mentioned.
After taking an image with the group, the pope mentioned goodbye and requested the migrants to wish for him.