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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis to refugee families: "Integration is part of salvation"

Pope Francis met with several refugee families who arrived in Europe through the humanitarian corridors established by many organizations, like the Community of Sant'Egidio.

Anna, her husband, Subhi, and their daughter, Pamela, told the Pope what it was like to leave Aleppo, Syria.

I think of my city very often; it was beautiful. We didn't want to leave it. We stayed until 2016.

At first, the family took refuge in Lebanon, but the Port of Beirut explosion led them to settle in Italy in 2020.

Mattia and his family also gave their testimony. They are Italians from the Marche region and in 2018, they opened their home to a Syrian family.

We are here representing the families who were not afraid to open their doors to welcome them.

Pope Francis thanked Caritas, Church institutions and different governments for their support of the humanitarian corridors that, since 2016, have offered an alternative to the dangerous route across the Mediterranean. He also condemned the internment camps for refugees in Libya.

Every one of you deserves attention for the difficult history you have lived through. In particular, I would like to remember those who lived through the detention camps in Libya.

The Pope said that it is not enough to allow refugees to reach safer countries. Once in Europe, authorities still have more responsibilities.

Work for integration. That is important. To finish the process, integrate. Not only to save but to integrate: integration is part of salvation.
Integration is the first step to peace.

At the end of the meeting, Pope Francis asked everyone to pray the Our Father in their own language. He then greeted the children.