Demonstrating his conviction that refugees are people, not numbers, Pope Francis invited three Muslim families to board his chartered Alitalia flight in Lesbos and begin a new life in Italy.
Sky News reports that, “The Pope’s decision to bring three families back to the Vatican with him after his visit to the Greek island of Lesbos last weekend was a surprise to all but a small group of Vatican officials and Catholic charity workers who organised the gesture.”
The families had fled war-torn Syria and made the treacherous journey across Turkey and the Aegean Sea before arriving in a Lesbos refugee camp. The Vatican reported that the three families, including six children, each had their paperwork in order to complete a legal immigration.
Most refugees don’t fare as well as the Italian-bound Syrians. As recently as April 22, an estimated 500 refugees from North and East Africa died when their transport ship sunk in the Mediterranean Sea near Libya.
“It’s another tragic situation, and it speaks to the desperate situation that people are in and how they are being taken advantage of,” said Bill Passions, International Director of International Missions for Advancing the Ministries of the Gospel (AMG). “They’ve had to leverage everything they have go get away.
“When they reach Greece, the refugees need the basics of life. That is where AMG is trying to step in and help.”
Pray for the desperate refugees who are taking extraordinary risks to claim a better life, and for AMG as they meet refugee needs in Greece.
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