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     Home > Charity and Solidarity  >  2013-09-11 16:37:32
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Pope calls for solidarity with refugees

11 Sept. 2013: Pope Francis on Tuesday made a private visit to a Rome soup kitchen and shelter run by the Jesuit Refugee Services called the Astalli Centre. The Pope thanked the staff and the volunteers for their generosity and time to some 21,000 refugees, who pass through their doors each year. In Rome, the Jesuit Refugee Services, JRS, runs three shelters, an Italian language school, a health facility which provides special attention for victims of torture, and legal counselling services. The Pope said “Rome is often the second stop for many refugees who make their way to Italy’s southern Sicilian Island of Lampedusa. The Pope described their passage from North Africa as difficult and exhausting and said he thinks above all of the women and mothers, who endure these hardships in order to ensure a future for their children and a better life for themselves and their families.
The Pope said he often wonders how many people with international protection written on their stay permits have been forced to live in impoverished conditions. Reflecting on the tradition of the Jesuit mission, the Pope said to “serve” means welcoming the person who arrives with care and understanding. It means offering “solidarity” a word that generates fear in the developed world. But it is “our word “, he stressed and called on all to reach out to everyone in need.
The Pope called on religious sisters whose convents are “empty” to generously and courageously open them to refugees, observing that the Church does not need “empty convents to be transformed into hotels to earn money”.
JRS is an international network found in 50 countries, providing assistance to refugees in camps and cities, internally displaced persons and asylum seekers.


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