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(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday offered a concrete and powerful gesture of solidarity to refugees and prayers to the victims of migration before wrapping up his visit to the Greek island of Lesbos.The decision to offer shelter and care to refugee families who travelled back to Rome with him aboard the papal plane was announced at the end of an intense visit to Lesbos which aimed to show support and solidarity to the hundreds of thousands of refugees who are currently facing detention, razor fences, closed borders and rejection in Europe as they flee violence and persecution.A 6-hour visit, marked by many poignant and moving moments, included  prayers and a tribute to those who have drowned during a ceremony at the Lesbos port of Mytilene.According to the International Organization for Migration, 366 people have died crossing the water from Turkey to Greece since the beginning of this year alone. There are many children and infants amongst the victims.Listen to the re...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis took three Syrian families and their six children back with him on the plane to Italy when he left the Greek island of Lesbos after his 6-hour visit there.The Syrian refugees, numbering 12 in total, were chosen from amongst those who were already present in the refugee camp on Lesbos before the recent deal was signed between the EU and Turkey. The Director of the Holy See’s Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, said the Pope had wished to make a gesture of welcome and solidarity on behalf of the refugees and the initiative had been organized and made possible during discussions between the (Vatican) Secretariat of State and the relevant Greek and Italian authorities.All the members of the three Syrian refugee families are Muslims. Two of the families come from Damascus and the third one comes from Deir Azzor which is located in an area controlled by the so-called Islamic State group. The homes of all three families were destroyed by shelli...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis flew back to Rome on Saturday at the end of his 6-hour visit to the Greek Island of Lesbos during which he implored Europe to treat refugees with dignity. The papal plane took off from Lesbos’ airport at 15.32 local time.The Pope was accompanied on his visit to Lesbos by the Orthodox leader, the Ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I and the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Athens and all Greece, Ieronymos II. During their visit, the three spiritual leaders signed a joint declaration calling on the international community to make the protection of human lives a priority and to extend temporary asylum to those in need.Earlier they toured the Moria refugee camp where many of the refugees fell to their knees and wept at the Pope’s feet as the three spiritual leaders toured the camp and met its inmates.   
ROME (AP) -- Pope Francis says his gesture is "a drop of water in the sea" of Europe's migration crisis. Yet for 12 Syrian refugees, the pope's decision to fly them back to Italy from Greece is an act of kindness that will resonate for the rest of their lives....
ROME (AP) -- Pope Francis said his brief encounter Saturday with U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was a sign of good manners, "nothing more," and hardly evidence of interfering in American politics....
AL-DHAFRA AIR BASE, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said he will talk with his commanders in the coming days to identify additional ways the U.S. can intensify the fight against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, including more airstrikes, cyberattacks and American troops on the ground....
HAVANA (AP) -- Cuban President Raul Castro delivered a grim report on the state of the country on Saturday, saying that the communist bureaucracy had failed to implement most of the hundreds of changes the ruling party launched five years ago to stimulate the stagnant centrally controlled economy....
MIAMI (AP) -- South Florida zoo staffers and friends of a veteran keeper attacked and killed by a Malayan tiger met Saturday morning to mourn her death as investigators sought clues as to what led the tiger to violently turn on his caretaker....
IMAGE: CNS/Paul HaringBy Cindy WoodenABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM GREECE (CNS) -- When an aidesuggested Pope Francis offer to fly some Syrian refugees back to Rome with him,he said he said yes immediately because it was "an inspiration of the HolySpirit."In the end, he said, 12 Syrians -- members of threefamilies, including six children -- had all the necessary papers from the Greekand Italian governments in time to fly with the pope April 16.The fact that the 12 are all Muslims did not enter into the equation,the pope said. "I gave priority to children of God."Two Christian families originally had been on the Vatican'slist, too, he said, but their papers were not ready in time.Spending about half an hour answering reporters' questions,Pope Francis insisted his visit to Greece with Orthodox leaders was not aboutcriticizing a recent agreement between the European Union and Turkey to returnto Turkey those entering EU territory without legal permission."What I saw today and what you s...
Aboard the papal plane, Apr 16, 2016 / 01:25 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis has said that the family is in crisis, and that is a much bigger issue than communion for the divorced and remarried. He suggested the news media had focused too much on the latter issue during the synod and in coverage of his recent document on the family.The Pope spoke with journalists on his plane flight back from visiting refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos April 16.A reporter from the French newspaper Le Figaro asked why his post-synod document “Amoris Laetitia” treats access to the sacraments for the divorced and remarried in a footnote.In response, Pope Francis noted a recent Pope’s reflections on the Second Vatican Council. There was the council as it took place in St. Peter’s Basilica, and there was the “council of the media” that covered the event, Pope Benedict XVI had said in February 2013.“When I convoked the first synod, the great concern of the m...
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