The Holy Father desires that the moment be as recollected as possible in the remembrance of how many have lost their lives fleeing war and misery.
Pope Francis will celebrate a Mass for Migrants in St. Peter’s Basilica on July 8, to mark the sixth anniversary of his visit to the island of Lampedusa, off the coast of Sicily.
Lampedusa is a landing point for migrants and refugees, and the island was the pope’s first official trip outside Rome after his election in March of 2013.
“Around 250 people will participate in the celebration, among whom will be migrants, refugees and those who are dedicated to saving their lives,” read a statement by the ‘ad interim’ director of the Holy See Press Office, Alessandro Gisotti.
“Taking part in the Mass, presided over by the Pope at the Altar of the Chair of St Peter, will be only those persons invited by the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, to whom the Holy Father has entrusted the organization of the event.”
Gisotti noted that “while Vatican Media will provide a live broadcast of the Mass, the presence of the press in the Basilica is not anticipated.”
He explained that “the Holy Father desires that the moment be as recollected as possible in the remembrance of how many have lost their lives fleeing war and misery, and so as to encourage those who strive day after day to sustain, accompany and welcome migrants and refugees.”
Lampedusa is one of the main entry points into Europe for refugees and migrants who set out from North Africa. A great many of these migrants never make it, dying in the Mediterranean on overcrowded and unsafe vessels and small boats.
On the island, Francis prayed for the numerous illegal migrants who have drowned while trying to reach the shores of Europe. He threw a wreath of flowers into the sea, in a sign of mourning before presiding over an open-air Mass.
Meanwhile, in preparation for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees (WMRD) on Sunday, September 29, 2019, the Vatican’s office dedicated to this ministry is preparing multimedia reflections to help us consider the pope’s message for the World Day and relative themes. See below: