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Pope to visit Lampedusa and offer Mass on July 8

Vatican City, 06 July 2013: Pope Francis will visit Italian island of Lampedusa on July 8th, celebrating Mass in the morning. He will also take time to remember the thousands of people who died trying to make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean.

Pope Francis during his visit, will use a pastoral staff made available to the Parish of Lampedusa. It is a pastoral cross made with pieces of wood that have come from the boats of migrants landed on the island. The colors of the pastoral staff are those of the boats from which they were derived. The staff measures 1.80 x 29. Two fish are carved in the horizontal arm of the cross while five loaves are engraved in the vertical arm, to bring the Gospel passage of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, thus recalling the words of Jesus: "You give them something to eat."
In the same passage of the Gospel we read again the meaning of the gesture of sharing that allows the multiplication from the little that you have with those in in the community, reminding the moments of the reception of migrant brothers. The red heart enclosed between the two arms of the cross, is a reference to that charity must always support the effort of the cross in the everyday life of the Christian community.

On the occasion of Mass, the Holy Father will use a wooden cup with inner lining with silver, as required by the liturgical norms and with a nail cross at the base of the chalice - a clear reference to the Passion of the Lord and of many brothers. These are also made of wood extracted from the wood of the boat of migrants.

Both the pastoral staff and the cup are the work of a craftsman in lampedusa, who put so much effort to help the migrant brothers.

The island, due to its proximity to Tunisia, is a primary destination of migrants leaving Africa. The processing facility on the island was built to hold on a few hundred people, and was swamped after the Arab Spring and resulting revolutions sent refugees streaming from North Africa.
Source: VR Sedoc


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