VATICAN CITY, Sept 6 (Reuters) – Pope Francis called on Sunday on every European parish and religious community to take in one migrant family each in a gesture of solidarity he said would start in the tiny Vatican state where he lives.
“I appeal to the parishes, the religious communities, the monasteries and sanctuaries of all Europe to … take in one family of refugees,” Pope Francis said after his Sunday address in the Vatican.
The pope’s call goes out to tens of thousands of Catholic parishes in Europe as the number of refugees arriving over land through the Balkans and across the Mediterranean to Italy and Greece hits record levels.
There are more than 25,000 parishes in Italy alone, and more than 12,000 in Germany, where many of the Syrians fleeing civil war and people trying to escape poverty and hardship in other countries say they want to end up.
The crowd in St. Peter’s Square applauded as the pontiff, himself the grandson of Italian emigrants to Argentina, said: “Every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every sanctuary of Europe, take in one family.”
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