Pope Francis, during a mass for migrants on the sixth anniversary of his visit to Lampedusa, said that for God, "no one is a foreigner" and "no one is excluded". He called for considering migrants as people, above all else, and not an issue to resolve, calling on everyone to take responsibility.
Pope Francis held a mass dedicated to migrants on July 8, the sixth anniversary of his visit to Lampedusa. Participants in the mass, held in St. Peter's Basilica, included 250 migrants and rescue workers. The pontiff strongly emphasized that for God, "no one is a foreigner" and "no one is excluded." He called for considering migrants as people and not an issue to resolve. He encouraged everyone to take responsibility.
Many migrants at the mass
In attendance at the mass were many migrants who had arrived by sea as well as through humanitarian corridors. There were also members of associations and institutions that work with migrants on a daily basis, including the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Migrantes, the Italian Bishops' Conference, the Community of Sant'Egidio, and the Jesuit Centro Astalli.
During the prayer of the faithful, a blessing was invoked for rescue workers, particularly those working in the Mediterranean. "Lord Jesus, bless the rescue workers in the Mediterranean Sea, and grow within each of us the courage of truth and respect for every human life," was one of the prayers recited by a worshipper during the course of the mass.
'Migrants are above all human beings'
During his homily, Pope Francis said the "weakest and most vulnerable must be helped" and called it a "great responsibility from which no one is exempt." The pontiff said migrants "are people; it's not just about social or migratory issues. It's not just about migrants. In the double sense that migrants are above all human beings, and nowadays they are symbolic of all the people that globalized society discards."
The pope then prayed for the migrants, the "last" who "shout to the Lord, calling to be freed from the evils that afflict them. They are the last, deceived and abandoned to die in the desert; they are the last, tortured, abused, and raped in detention camps; they are the last, who challenge the waves of a merciless sea; they are the last, left in reception camps too long to be called temporary. These are only some of the examples that Jesus calls us to love and raise up."
"Jesus doesn't make distinctions: freedom is bestowed generously" to all, Pope Francis concluded.