(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has called for an ongoing commitment to welcome and integrate forced migrants and refugees and described the current migration phenomenon as the world’s greatest tragedy after the Second World War.
Speaking on Wednesday to crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the weekly General Audience, the Pope also continued his catechesis on Christian hope and appealed to the faithful to ‘re-discover’ the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni:
In his appeal, launched after the catechesis, Pope Francis reminded all Catholic communities to participate in the upcoming “24 hours for the Lord” initiative on 23rd and 24th of March with Churches across the globe offering the Sacrament of Confession as a “privileged moment of grace” during our Lenten journey.
And speaking to an Italian association that offers services and help to migrants and refugees upon their arrival and a long-term process of integration, the Pope highlighted the rights and the responsibilities of those who receive and of those who are received, and described the current migration crisis as the greatest tragedy after World War 2.
His words come just days before EU Heads of State or Government convene in the city to mark the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome.
In his catechesis meanwhile, Pope Francis reflected on a reading from Saint Paul which focusses on the attitudes of steadfastness and encouragement.
They are intimately connected to the reality of Christian hope because ours, he said, is a God of steadfastness as he loves us perseveringly and never tires of consoling us.
He is also a God of encouragement, he continued, who calls us to be close to the weak and the needy with whom he asks us to be strong and to be sowers of hope.
What’s more, the Pope continued, Christians are called to spread hope by supporting and encouraging one another, especially those in danger of faltering. But we do so, he concluded, with the strength provided by the Lord, who is our unfailing source of hope.