Pope Francis celebrated Mass on the 105th World Day of Migrants and Refugees. During the mass he called for particular attention to be paid to "all those on the periphery who, together with migrants and refugees, are victims of a throwaway culture." He entreated those listening to make sure that “no one was left behind.”
The theme "It is not just about migrants" was used to mark the 105th World Day of Migrants and Refugees on September 29 this year. Pope Francis celebrated Mass on the occasion, and during his homily he called for particular attention to be paid to "all those on the periphery who, together with migrants and refugees, are victims of a throwaway culture." Pope Francis continued: "the Lord calls us to show charity towards them" and "to restore their humanity, as well as our own, and leave no one behind."
This was the first time Pope Francis has celebrated Sunday Mass on World Day of Migrants in St Peter's Square; last year he celebrated this Mass inside St. Peter's Basilica.
About 40,000 people, including migrants and refugees from all over the world, attended the Mass, which was organized by the Italian Bishops' Conference (CEI) and the Migrantes Foundation.
A multiethnic choir sang songs in various languages, including some African languages.
'Most vulnerable pay the price for conflicts'
Pope Francis said the Lord invites us "to consider the injustices that cause exclusion," including "the privileges of the few, who, in order to preserve their status, act to the detriment of the many." The pope observed that "today's world becomes more elitist and cruel every day" which emphasises exclusion.
"Developing countries continue to be drained of their best natural and human resources for the benefit of a few privileged markets. Wars only affect some regions of the world, yet weapons of war are produced and sold in other regions which are then unwilling to take in the refugees generated by these conflicts. Those who pay the price are always the smallest, the poor, the most vulnerable; it is those people who are prevented from sitting at the table and are left with the 'crumbs' of the banquet," Pope Francis said.
As Christians 'we must not fail to respond'
"As Christians, we cannot be indifferent to the tragedy of old and new forms of poverty, to the darkest forms of loneliness, to the disrespect and discrimination of those who don't belong to 'our' group," Pope Francis said.
"We cannot remain insensitive, with an anesthetized heart, before the misery of so many innocent people. We must not fail to weep. We must not fail to respond," he said. "Let us ask the Lord for the grace to weep, the grace that converts the heart in the face of these sins," he continued.
As the Mass concluded near the colonade, which surrounds St Peter's square, the pope unveiled a large bronze sculpture entitled "Angels Unaware" by the Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz. The sculpture depicts a boat with dozens of migrants from various eras and places, and a pair of wings rising up in the middle. "I wanted it here in St. Peter's Square, so that it can remind everyone of the evangelical challenge of hospitality," Pope Francis declared.