–– Sito di FORMAZIONE PERMANENTE MISSIONARIA –– Uno sguardo missionario sulla Vita, il Mondo e la Chiesa A missionary look on the life of the world and the church –– VIDA y MISIÓN – VIE et MISSION – VIDA e MISSÃO ––
As the Pope shook the hands of refugees at Lesbos’ Moria camp, word circulated that Francis could be taking about 10 or so refugees currently living on Lesbos, back to the Vatican with him. 12 are in fact going to be boarding the papal plane to Rome this afternoon and will be hosted by the Community of Sant’Egidio.
According to Greek state broadcaster ERT, the refugees in question are three families who were being hosted in the open field at Kara Tepe and were chosen at random. They all come from Damascus, Syria.
The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, explained: “The Pope wished to make a welcoming gesture towards refugees, accompanying three families of Syrian refugees – 12 people in all, of whom six are children – to Rome on his own plane. These people were already at the Lesbos reception centre before the EU-Turkey agreement came into force,The Pope’s initiative became a reality “thanks to negotiations between the Secretariat of State and the competent Greek and Italian authorities”.
All members of the three families are Muslim. Two families come from Damascus, one from Deir ez-Zor (in the area occupied by ISIS). Their homes were bombed. The Vatican will be paying for the hospitality offered to the three families and for their upkeep. They will initially be hosted by the Community of Sant’Egidio.”
Earlier today the Holy See released some information about the 12 refugees: “Hasan and Nour come from Damascus. They are married and both engineers. They are coming to Rome with their 2-year-old son. They lived on the outskirts of Damascus in a high-risk area called Al Zapadani, which is under constant bombardment. They fled with their child to Turkey, where they got on a dinghy bound for Lesbos.”
Then there is “Ramy and Suhila” from Deir ez-Zor, an area occupied by ISIS: “Both are 55 years old, the husband is a teacher and the wife a seamstress. They fled with their three children after their home was destroyed. They arrived in Greece via Turkey in February 2016.”
“Osama and Wafa,” the statement concludes, “come from Zamalka, a suburb of Damascus, with their two children. Thei home was also bombed. The mother said her youngest wakes up every night. There was a period when he even stopped talking.”
A smiling mother passes through the cabin saying “hi” to the journalists who try to get a comment from her. She is happy but says nothing else. Her youngest children are with her, they smile too and have a naughty look on their faces. The adolescent on the other hand passes by with their head lowered, wearing a cap. Perhaps all the attention is too much. This, in brief, was the contact journalists had with the 12 Syrian refugees on board the papal flight.