He recalled a visit that he made to the camp on the Greek island of Lesbos in 2016, with Bartholomew I, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, and Ieronymos II, Archbishop of Athens and all Greece. In a joint declaration, they had committed themselves to ensuring that migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers receive “a humane reception in Europe.”
“I express solidarity and closeness to all the victims of these dramatic events,” he said.
The pope then noted that protests had broken out in various countries in recent months amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Without mentioning any nations by name, he said: “While I urge the demonstrators to present their demands peacefully, without giving in to the temptation of aggression and violence, I appeal to all those who have public and governmental responsibilities to listen to the voice of their fellow citizens and to meet their just aspirations, ensuring full respect for human rights and civil liberties.”
“Finally, I invite the ecclesial communities living in such contexts, under the guidance of their Pastors, to work in favor of dialogue, always in favor of dialogue, and in favor of reconciliation.”
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Next, he recalled that the annual worldwide collection for the Holy Land would take place this Sunday. The collection is usually taken up in churches during Good Friday services, but was delayed this year because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
He said: “In the current context, this collection is even more a sign of hope and solidarity with the Christians living in the land where God became flesh and died and rose again for us.”
The pope greeted groups of pilgrims in the square below, singling out a group of cyclists suffering from Parkinson’s disease who had traveled along the ancient Via Francigena from Pavia to Rome.
Finally, he thanked Italian families who throughout August had offered hospitality to pilgrims.
“They are many,” he said. “I wish you all a good Sunday. Please do not forget to pray for me.”