Pope Francis on Monday used his New Year homily to urge peace and understanding for migrants and refugees. Pope described migrants and refugees as the world’s “weakest and most needy” using his traditional New Year’s address to “give voice” to people he has urged leaders to do more to help.
January 1 has been designated as World Peace Day by the Catholic Church. Francis made the appeal before an estimated 40,000 devotees during his Angelus address on Monday in St. Peters Square, Vatican Police said.
“Please do not extinguish the hope in their hearts; we do not suffocate their peace expectations! It is important that everyone, civil institutions, educational, welfare and ecclesial realities are committed to ensuring refugees, migrants and everyone a future of peace,” the Pope said.
“Let us not extinguish hope in their hearts or smother their expectations of peace,” the leader of the world’s estimated 1.2 billion Catholics said, marking the Church’s World Day of Peace before millions of worshippers braving a rainswept Saint Peter’s Square in the Vatican.
“It is important that everyone, civil institutions, educational and welfare organizations, and ecclesial realities are committed to ensuring refugees, migrants and everyone a future of peace,” he said. “May the Lord grant us to work in this new year with generosity to create a more supportive and welcoming world.”
Taking up the theme of the ongoing migrant crisis, the pontiff said they were “ready to risk their lives in their search for a peaceful future “which is a right for everyone” and which everyone should strive to ensure for all.
During a trip to Myanmar and Bangladesh last year, he met Muslim refugees and called for decisive measures to solve the political problems that caused many to flee.
He has also criticized President Donald Trump’s stated intention to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico to keep out illegal immigrants.