Pope Francis urges European parishes to take in refugee families

MOSCOW, Sept. 7 (PNA/Sputnik) — Catholic Pope Francis said that in the face of the “tragedy of tens of thousands of refugees that flee death in conflict and hunger and are on a journey of hope, the Gospel calls us to be close to the smallest and to those who have been abandoned.”

Catholic Pope Francis called on European parishes and monasteries on Sunday to give shelter to refugee families and announced that the Vatican would lead by example, according to the official Vatican Radio.

In a Sunday appeal, the pontiff said that in the face of the “tragedy of tens of thousands of refugees that flee death in conflict and hunger and are on a journey of hope, the Gospel calls us to be close to the smallest and to those who have been abandoned.”

The Pope said that solidarity with refugees would start in the Vatican that would take in two families. He addressed European bishops asking them to do the same.

“Every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every sanctuary of Europe, take in one family,” the Pope was quoted as saying.

Europe has been at the epicenter of a major refugee crisis since the start of 2015, with hundreds of thousands attempting to cross into the EU bloc as they flee war and poverty in their home countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

According to EU external border protection agency Frontex, over 340,000 refugees were detected at bloc’s borders between January and July 2015, which is three times higher compared to the same period in 2014. (PNA/Sputnik)