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    » 07/08/2013, 00.00

    VATICAN - ITALY

    Pope: in Lampedusa, "Let us pray for those who are here and those that there are not"



    First trip by Francis dedicated to the "gate of Europe", which for years has welcomed thousands of migrants. A wreath of flowers thrown into the sea for the many, perhaps 20,000, who have lost their lives during the "journey of hope". A young migrant: "To get here we have suffered so much. We would like help from our Holy Father, we want other countries to help us."

    Lampedusa (AsiaNews) - A wreath of white and yellow flowers and a prayer in remembrance of the many, an estimated 20,000, who have lost their lives during the "journey of hope" of immigrants towards Europe. Thus began Pope Francis' first trip outside Rome, and also the first trip by a pope to Lampedusa, the "gateway to Europe" which for years has welcomed thousands of migrants. The peak in numbers occurred between March and April 2011, when there were 6,500 immigrants on an island of about 6,000 inhabitants. Even today, a boat arrived at dawn with 166 foreigners.

    The son of Italian immigrants in Argentina, Pope Francis arrived in Lampedusa - 20 square kilometres, at a latitude further south than Tunis and Algiers, 113 kilometres from the African coast of Tunisia and 127 from the coastlines of Europe and Italy - shortly after 9:00 am. In Cala Pisana he embarked on a patrol boat (pictured) of the Coast Guard, accompanied by a hundred fishing boats, and arrived off the coast of Cala Maluk, where a shipwreck once occurred, and threw the wreath overboard.

    A moment of prayer before the arrival at Favarolo pier, where the immigrants arrive. On the pier were 100 of the 125 immigrants present at the welcome center of the Imbriacola district. They were are almost all young: the two youngest immigrants were 13 years old. Francis greeted them one by one, asking questions, listening. "Welcome among the last ones" read one banner, which somehow explained the reason for the visit by a Pope who invites people to "go out toward the outskirts." "Thank you", said Francis on the pier. "All together", he added, "today we will pray for each other and also for those who are not here today." A young man translated into Arabic. "Come and talk", Francis beckoned to him. "We want you to help our problem", said the young man. "We have fled from our country, to get to this place we have overcome various obstacles; we were kidnapped. To get here we have suffered so much. We would like help from our Holy Father, we want other countries to help us. Thank you for your cooperation, we thank God. We are here, forced to remain in Italy: we want other European countries to help us".

    It was almost a private visit. The Pope made it known that he did not want the presence of the authorities. He was thus welcomed and accompanied only by the Mayor, Giusy Nicolini, and the Archbishop of Agrigento, Mons. Francesco Montenegro. Even the car he is travelling in is "private": a white "Campagnola", owned by a Milan resident who has visited the island for 20 years.

    It is thus that he will arrive at the Arena sports field, where he will celebrate the Mass. The "boat cemetery" is clearly visible, where hundreds of the vessels are stacked that have arrived here.

    The altar, too, is made from a boat and even the chalice and the pastoral cross were made from wood of the 'ships of hope'.

     

     

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    See also

    08/07/2013 VATICAN - ITALY
    Pope: in Lampedusa, let us ask for forgiveness for the indifference towards those who suffer, and those who create the situations behind the tragedies of emigration
    The pontiff celebrates a "penitential" Mass next to the "graveyard of the boats." Migrants who died at sea are "a thorn in the heart that brings suffering." [. . .] "Who is responsible for the blood"? The "globalisation of indifference has taken from us the ability to weep. [. . .] Thank you," he told people, "for your show of support. May the Lord bless you and help you keep this humane and Christian attitude." (FP)

    21/03/2015 VATICAN - ITALY
    Pope: in Naples, find hope in Jesus and the power to redeem a city
    Corruption "stinks" !. "And a corrupt society ' stinks '! A Christian who allows corruption to enter them is not a Christian, they 'stink'!". "Those who voluntarily take the path of evil steal a piece of hope, earn a little something but steal hope from themselves, from others, from society." "We are all immigrants, children of God: children of God who has put us all on a journey, everyone." "To the criminals and all their accomplices, the Church repeats: convert to love and justice! Let yourselves be touched by the mercy of God!"

    01/07/2013 VATICAN
    Pope: Friday release for "Lumen fidei", the "four hand" encyclical
    This is how Pope Francis named the document and that Benedict XVI was writing and he completed. Next Monday a visit to Lampedusa, to "pray for those who lost their lives at sea, visit the survivors and refugees present, to encourage the inhabitants of the island and to appeal to the responsibility of all to ensure that proper care is taken of these brothers and sisters in extreme need.

    04/10/2013 VATICAN - ITALY
    Pope in Assisi: May the Middle East and the world find the peace of the "real "St. Francis
    This is a "day of tears " for the dead of Lampedusa. " We hear the cry of those who weep, suffer and die because of violence , terrorism and war in the Holy Land , so loved by St. Francis , in Syria , in the entire Middle East , in the world ." The Church and every Christian must be freed from the danger of "worldliness brought by vanity, arrogance , pride. This is an idol , it is not God, but an idol ! "

    05/07/2014 VATICAN - ITALY
    Pope in Molise: overcome the "culture of the provisional" to be truly free
    To young people and prisoners Francis repeats that "God never gets tired of forgiving." A statue of St. John the Evangelist that the diocese has gifted for the reopening of the Cathedral of Izmir. At Isernia, birthplace St Celestine V, the Celestine Jubilee Year is launched.



    Editor's choices

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    Global Times: the pope should accept the independence of the Chinese Church



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    INDIA – PHILIPPINES
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