By Jim Fair

Following the recitation of the Sunday Angelus with the faithful in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis expressed his closeness to those suffering in the wake of fires at the refugee camp on the Island of Lesbos.

“In recent days, a series of fires have devastated the refugee camp of Moria on the Island of Lesbos, leaving thousands of people without shelter, even a precarious one,” Pope Francs said. “ I still remember my visit there and the appeal I launched together with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens, to ‘do our part towards giving migrants, refugees and asylum seekers a humane and dignified welcome in Europe’ (16 April 2016). I express my solidarity and closeness to all the victims of these dramatic events.”

The Holy Father visited the camp in 2016 and spoke to 2,500 refugees and heard their stories. He was joined in his visit by Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop Ieronymos

“This is the message I want to leave with you today: do not lose hope!” Francis said during his 2016 visit. “The greatest gift we can offer one another is love: a merciful look, a readiness to listen and understand, a word of encouragement, a prayer. May you share this gift with one another.

“We Christians love to tell the story of the Good Samaritan, a foreigner who saw a man in need and immediately stopped to help. For us, it is a story about God’s mercy which is meant for everyone, for God is the All-Merciful. It is also a summons to show that same mercy to those in need. May all our brothers and sisters on this continent, like the Good Samaritan, come to your aid in the spirit of fraternity, solidarity, and respect for human dignity that has distinguished its long history.”

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