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Parishes and Catholic organizations are home to one in three refugees in Italy

2016-03-28

Last September, the Pope sent a message loud and clear to Catholics about the refugee crisis.

POPE FRANCIS
September 6, 2015
"May every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every sanctuary in Europe take in one family, starting with my diocese in Rome.”

Six months later, the Italian parishes hosted more than 22,000 refugees and another 15,000 were accommodated by other Church institutions. In total, one third of the refugees have been welcomed into Italy, thanks to the Catholic Church.

However, not everything is that simple. The EU bureaucracy has hindered its host. Back in September, 28 European countries pledged to relocate 160,000 people fleeing from Syria. They were found in Italy and Greece, but only 937 people have been officially resettled.

Lebanon, with a population of 4.5 million, is welcoming more refugees compared to the rest of  the European Union, with its 500 million inhabitants.

MSGR. GIAN CARLO PEREGO
Foundation for Migrants
"Unfortunately, when dealing with politics, there is always an option to stop them and not let them pass. With our pressures and other humanitarian organizations, the Catholic Church wishes to come and work to ensure the reception of people.”

On Sunday, March 21st, the agreement to send asylum-seekers back to Turkey came into full force in an effort to reduce the flow of migrants coming to Europe.

Gian Carlo Perego, who chairs the Italian Foundation for Migrants, is responsible for supporting the work of the Italian Church with immigrants. He would like to create a humanitarian corridor across Europe.

MSGR. GIAN CARLO PEREGO
Foundation for Migrants
"We especially hope that humanitarian channels, through a large European operation, can help people fleeing and move them in a precise and timely manner to several European countries. FLASH. The humanitarian corridor is the first response that prevents deaths at sea and facilitates identifying people; it creates more security and fights against human traffickers.”

The recent attacks in Brussels can lead to a rise in xenophobia in Europe and hinder solidarity with those who claim asylum. But the Foundation for Migrants insists on clarifying misconceptions about the danger of hosting refugees.

MSGR. GIAN CARLO PEREGO
Foundation for Migrants
"We are well aware that people who come to Europe are not terrorists. All terrorists who have made the attacks are young and second generational who were born in our cities.”

Pope Francis' call to host is still present, but aid depends not only on the Church, but also on European politicians.

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