Pope Francis asks for compassion to migrants in Christmas Eve Mass: 'None should have to feel there is no room for them on this earth'

'We see the tracks of millions of persons who do not choose to go away but, driven from their land, leave behind their dear ones' 

Narjas Zatat
Monday 25 December 2017 10:09
Comments
Picture:
Picture:

Pope Francis has likened Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem to the migrations of millions of people today who are forced to leave their homelands for a better life.

The leader of the Catholic church said many migrants around the world were forced to flee from leaders who “see no problem in shedding innocent blood”.

The 81-year-old Argentinian addressed worshippers in St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City at the Christmas Eve vigil Mass, adding: "So many other footsteps are hidden in the footsteps of Joseph and Mary".

He used his homily to address similarities in the way in which Mary and Joseph travelled to Bethlehem with nowhere to stay, and the millions of migrants currently without homes.

"We see the tracks of millions of persons who do not choose to go away but, driven from their land, leave behind their dear ones," he said.

"In many cases this departure is filled with hope, hope for the future; yet for many this departure can only have one name: survival."

He said God is present in "the unwelcomed visitor, often unrecognisable, who walks through our cities and our neighbourhoods, who travels on our buses and knocks on our door". That perception of God should develop into "new forms of relationship, in which none have to feel that there is no room for them on this Earth," he said.

"Christmas is a time for turning the power of fear into the power of charity," Francis said.

At the start of the service, Francis bent over to kiss a statue of the baby Jesus in the basilica.

Francis, whose parents were Italian immigrants in Argentina, also called for a “new social imagination…in which none have to feel that there is no room for them on this earth."

The Pope has been a vocal supporter of the world’s 22 million migrants, and in a letter to heads of state and government in November, he wrote: “Those who, for what may be political reasons, foment fear of migrants instead of building peace are sowing violence, racial discrimination and xenophobia.”

The Pope is set to deliver his ‘Urbi et Orbi (to the city and to the world) Christmas address later today.

Additional reporting by agencies

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in