Pope Francis arrived Sunday morning at a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos to call for better integration of refugees in Europe, which he says is difficult to express in solidarity.
On the second day of his trip to Greece, he will see the arrival of lightning at the Mavrooni camp, where another 2,200 asylum seekers are in dire straits.
Today, the pope welcomed a crowd of immigrants gathered between containers and tents in the camp.
About 900 police were mobilized on the Greek island, and banners were hoisted everywhere near Mytilene and the camp to welcome the pope or to condemn the deportation of alleged immigrants to Turkey by “Greek authorities.” .
About 40 asylum seekers, mostly Catholics from Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are expected to attend the Angelus Prayer and the Pope’s address, as well as Greek President Caderina Sakello Paulo, European Commission Vice President Margaritas Shinas and Greece. Minister of Migration Notice Midarashi.
Congolese Christian Tango, 31, addresses the Pope. He told the AFP on Saturday that he “hoped the Pope would take the voice of immigrants to the rest of the world, especially to European countries that receive refugees with greater humanity.”
“This is the most beautiful day of my life. I never imagined that one day I would have the opportunity to see the Pope with my own eyes,” he said of Cameronian Bert Enko, who sang in a choir during the Pope’s visit.
For his part, Congolese Rosette Liu told the AFP on Sunday, “His visit is a blessing. The Pope is our spiritual leader and he can influence people to see refugees differently.”
“This is the first time I’ve met the Pope and I do not think I will ever see him again in my life,” said Orpheus Mota, who attended the service.
“We are human beings, we as refugees should be treated like human beings, not prisoners,” he told the AFP.
Some of these emigrants hope to return to Rome with the pope.
Pope Francis took 12 Syrians with him in 2016. Fifty immigrants will be transferred from Cyprus, where he was two days before his arrival in Athens. The possibility of some asylum seekers from Mavrovoni coming to Italy with him was not ruled out.
This time the refugee issue is also at the center of the Pope’s 35th visit.
Vatican journalist Marco Politi, who wrote a book about Pope Francis, said he “believes the issue of immigrants is the greatest humanitarian catastrophe since World War II.”
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