Nick Benson


Christians have ‘moral duty’ to help migrants, refugees, pope says

Christians have a moral obligation to show God’s care for all those who are marginalised, especially migrants and refugees, Pope Francis said.

“This loving care for the less privileged is presented as a characteristic trait of the God of Israel and is likewise required, as a moral duty, of all those who would belong to his people,” the pope said in his homily on 29th September during an outdoor Mass for the 105th World Day of Migrants and Refugees.

Some 40,000 men, women and children packed St Peter’s Square as the sounds of upbeat hymns filled the air. According to the Vatican, the members of the choir singing at the Mass hailed from Romania, Congo, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India, Peru and Italy.

The choir wasn’t the only aspect of the liturgy that celebrated migrants and refugees. According to the Vatican Section for Migrants and Refugees, the incense used at the Mass came from the Bokolmanyo refugee camp in southern Ethiopia, where refugees are restarting the 600-year old tradition of collecting high-quality incense.

After the Mass, Pope Francis unveiled a large bronze statue, “Angels Unawares,” in St Peter’s Square.

Designed and sculpted by Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz, the sculpture depicts a group of migrants and refugees on a boat. Within the group, a pair of angel wings can be seen, which suggests “that within the migrant and refugee is the sacred,” the artist’s website said.

Picture: Pope Francis attends the unveiling of a large bronze statue titled, ‘Angels Unawares’, by Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz, in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican on 29th September 2019. The statue depicts a group of migrants and refugees on a boat. (CNS photo/Vatican Media).