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Pope Francis dedicates month of June to prayers for migrants and refugees

Migrants wait to disembark from a tug boat in the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo. CNS photo/Antonio Parrinello, Reuters

With no end in sight to the migrants making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean, it has been announced that Pope Francis is dedicating his general prayer intention for June, to the welcome and respect of refugees and migrants wherever they seek shelter.

In addition, to the migrants fleeing the terrors of North Africa, Rohingya Muslims are escaping persecution in Myanmar and Bangladeshis are leaving behind their poverty-stricken homes to travel by boat to Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

The crackdown on human traffickers has meant many of the boats carrying hundreds of migrants have been abandoned at sea with little or no food and water. Even on their arrival, the welcome they receive is rarely warm.

Pope Francis has said that he is particularly concerned about this group of migrants, which is why the Holy Father’s first visit outside of Rome after his election was to Lampedusa, the first port of call for thousands of African refugees.

The Pope recently appealed for help to the international community on behalf of displaced people in the Bay of Bengal and in the Andaman Sea. Last week, he stressed that letting migrants die at sea was an “attack against life”, similar to abortion or euthanasia.