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Migrants from Cyprus give Pope a birthday present during meeting

VATICAN-RELIGION-POPE-MIGRANTS-AFP

HANDOUT / VATICAN MEDIA / AFP

I.Media for Aleteia - published on 12/17/21

This group -- including a doctors and technicians -- is the first of about 50 migrants who are relocating to Italy thanks to the Pope's arrangements during his visit.

On December 17, 2021, his 85th birthday, Pope Francis received in audience a dozen migrants from refugee centers in Cyprus, the first of a group of about 50 who are relocating to Italy after the Holy Father’s trip to the island earlier this month.

The Vatican press office announced that they arrived to Italy yesterday, thanks to the agreement between the Holy See, Italian, and Cypriot authorities. This plan was announced during the Pope’s trip to Cyprus and Greece in early December.

The Argentine pontiff first listened to their story and their account of “travel from Congo-Brazzaville, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, Somalia, and Syria.”

The Holy See press release specifies that some among the group are doctors and computer technicians.

A present

As a birthday present, the refugees presented Pope Francis with a painting by an Afghan refugee depicting migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea.

The head of the Catholic Church also asked for news of a little girl he met in the Mavrouni camp, during his recent visit to Lesbos. The Holy See indicated that she will come to Italy in the coming days with her family for treatment.

This group of about 10 migrants is the first of the 50 or so asylum seekers in Cyprus that the pontiff arranged to bring to Italy viaa humanitarian corridor set up by the Catholic lay Sant’Egidio community.

This plan was announced publicly on December 2 by Cypriot President Níkos Anastasiádis during the reception of Pope Francis at the presidential palace in Nicosia. The head of state expressed his gratitude to the Pontiff, acknowledging that his country has great difficulties in managing the large influx of migrants into his country.

Tags:
ImmigrationPope Francis
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