Part of the 100,000 euros that Pope Francis has decided to donate to Caritas Hellas on the island of Lesbos will be used to build a covered playground for children at the Team Humanity recreational center. The money was given to support initiatives by the local branch of Caritas to meet the needs of asylum seekers and refugees on Lesbos - mostly Afghans, Syrians, and Iraqis - as well as for local communities.
The pope sent his papal charities chief, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, to give the money, who on Friday was on the Greek island that the pope himself traveled to on April 16, 2016, visiting the Moria refugee camp.
'Europe has forgotten Lesbos'
Of the 70,000 men, women, and children fleeing conflicts that are currently in Greece, 7,000 are on Lesbos. ''We were set by the pope because Europe has forgotten a bit that there are many camps here,'' Cardinal Krajewski said during his mission. Faced with so much suffering, he added, ''the Holy Father has sent support for Caritas Hellas, which works in this area. However, Francis wants above all to be a bridge towards a better life for these people.''
He stressed that ''here we see many children and pregnant women who have been waiting for months for Europe to open its doors, since there is no hope for them here.''
Pope praises North Macedonia commitment
In recent days, in discussing his apostolic visit to Bulgaria and North Macedonia during his general audience, the Pope underscored that his visit to North Macedonia had been meant to ''encourage especially its traditional ability to host different ethnicities and religions, as well as its commitment to welcome and help a large number of migrants and refugees during the critical period in 2015 and 2016."
The Pope went on to say that ''migrants create problems but they are welcoming them and this is a great thing," calling for ''applause for this population'' from the 20,000 believers that had gathered in St Peter's Square for the general audience.