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Pope Francis at the prayer service which was held last night in front of the Angels Unawares sculpture in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican (CNS/Lola Gomez)

Pope Francis led Synod on Synodality members in praying for migrants and refugees at a service at the Vatican last night, urging them to take to heart the parable of the Good Samaritan in helping those forced from their homeland. Source: NCR Online.

“The road leading from Jerusalem to Jericho was not a safe route, just as today the many migration routes that traverse deserts, forests, rivers and seas are not safe,” the Pope said at the service in St Peter’s Square.

“How many of our brothers and sisters find themselves today in the same condition as the traveller in the parable?” the Pope asked. “How many are robbed, stripped and beaten along the way?”

The evening prayer service took place around Angels Unawares, a sculpture by Canadian Timothy Schmalz, that has stood in St Peter’s Square since 2019. The bronze boat is filled with 140 figures depicting migrants from various historical periods and various nations.

The prayer service “will effectively symbolise walking together with the some of the most vulnerable people on our planet, namely, those who are fleeing, those who are forced to be on the move, those whom we call migrants and refugees,” said Cardinal Michael Czerny, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

In his reflection, Francis called for the reform of immigration policies to increase regular, legal channels for migration, recognising national economic and demographic policies, but always putting “the most vulnerable at the centre”.

Francis told those at the prayer service that while it is easy to look the other way – or walk on the other side of the road as characters in the parable did – the Gospel calls Christians “to be neighbours to all the wayfarers of our time, to save their lives, to heal their wounds and to soothe their pain.”


At synod prayer service, Pope calls for immigration reform with a heart (By Cindy Wooden, OSV News via NCR Online)


Synod briefing focuses on migrants and refugees (Vatican News)