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In Malta, Pope Francis invites refugees to be welcoming to others


Pope Francis' last visit in Malta was to the John XXIII Peace Lab. It was founded in 1971 by a Franciscan and houses about fifty refugees, mainly from Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan and Libya. The Pope listened to the stories of two men who found refuge at the Peace Lab.

DANIEL JUDE OUKEGUAL
I started a new life with the hope of getting better. My thanks to everybody who made this possible for me. Everybody that offered me a helping hand along the way. And then my thoughts go to all my brothers and sisters who are still in custody, and every time I ask myself when will they obtain their freedom?

Several times, Pope Francis has expressed his concern for the sufferings of migrants searching for a better life. During the visit, he gave them his prescription for healing. 

POPE FRANCIS
It takes time for this wound to heal; it takes time and, above all, it takes rich experiences of humanity: finding friendly people, who know how to listen, understand, walk together. Also being together with fellow travelers to share, to carry the burden together. This helps to heal wounds.

The Pope believes that, the day migrants succeed in healing these wounds, they will have the secret to build a more just world. He says they can be "witnesses and animators of welcome and fraternity".

POPE FRANCIS
I consider it very important that in today's world migrants become witnesses of the human values that are essential for a dignified and fraternal life. These are values that you carry within you, that are part of your roots. Once the wound of being separated from, of being uprooted, has healed, you can uncover this wealth within you, a very precious patrimony of humanity.

He asked those present not to fall into pessimism. Although the migration crisis is a challenge, he believes that Christians can respond by welcoming with charity.

POPE FRANCIS
Let us not be deceived by those who say: "There is nothing to be done", "there are bigger problems than ours", "I will mind my own business and others can deal with it". No. Let us not fall into this trap. Let us respond to the challenge of migrants and refugees with a humane attitude. Let us light fires of fraternity, around which people can warm up, recover and rekindle hope.

At the end of the ceremony, the Pope lit a candle in front of an image of Our Lady. He explained that though it is a very simple gesture, it has great significance because in Christianity, the flame symbolizes faith in God.

RM

TR: KG