Refugees, migrants given safe haven by Vatican weep with gratitude

By Inés San Martín, 6 December 2019
A group of 33 migrants, accompanied by Polish Cardinal Konrad Krajewski arrive in Rome after being brought from the Greek island of Lesbos. Image: Vatican News/YouTube.


Those with a presence on social media probably know that Pope Francis himself isn’t sitting at a Starbucks with his smartphone posting his own tweets and Instagram photos. Only once in a while does he personally dictate what goes out, and usually it has something to do with the poor, especially migrants and refugees.

On Wednesday, Francis was at it again.

The pope walked his own talk by having his “charitable right arm,” Polish Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, bring 33 migrants from Afghanistan, Cameroon and Togo who had been stranded on the Greek island of Lesbos, back to Rome under Vatican patronage.

Ten more asylum seekers will arrive in Italy before the end of the year.

This is the second time, at the pontiff’s request, that the Vatican has helped relocate migrants and refugees from Lesbos to Italy. In 2016, 12 refugees flew with him back to Rome when he visited the Greek island with Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople to raise awareness of what’s happening in a place that for many, is the entry door to Europe.

“The pope said to me, ‘we have to do something, because my trip to Lesbos cannot be a simple episode. It must be a start. We need to give these people a sign of hope’,” Riccardi quoted the pope as saying.

Wednesday’s “group of young refugees and some families” arrived in Rome through Fiumicino International Airport accompanied by Krajewski and officials from Sant’Egidio.

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With thanks to Crux and Inés San Martín, where this article originally appeared.


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