Pope Francis Challenges European Parishes

Syrian refugee family in Lebanon with Sarah Teather of Jesuit Refugee Service
Syrian refugee family in Lebanon with Sarah Teather of Jesuit Refugee Service

During his Angelus address in St Peter’s Square yesterday, the Pope responded to the refugee crisis by appealing to all Catholic parishes and religious communities in Europe to take in a refugee family.

“Every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every sanctuary of Europe – take in one family each”, he said.

In appealing for this gesture of solidarity, he set the example by saying that the two parishes in the Vatican would each take in a refugee family in the next few days.

The Pope said, “as we witness the tragedy of tens of thousands of refugees that flee from death in conflict and hunger and are on a journey of hope, the Gospel calls us to be close to the smallest and to those who have been abandoned.”

Reminding the faithful of the upcoming Jubilee Year of Mercy in 2016, he said that offering shelter to the needy is a “concrete act of preparation” for the Holy year ahead. The Pope then specifically asked the European Bishops to support his appeal.

Finally the Pope urged families and couples, communities and parishes not to be closed but to be open to the great family of the Church saying that we must listen to God who speaks to us and communicate his Word to those who do not know it or who have forgotten it.