The Vatican has confirmed that 12 Syrian refugees, all of them Muslim, are traveling with the Pope back to Italy from Greece.
The three families, including six children, met with Francis on the tarmac on the island of Lesbos and boarded the plane.
In a statement, the Vatican said Francis wanted to “make a gesture of welcome” to the refugees, who were in camps on the Greek island before the agreement between the EU and Turkey to return migrants came into effect on March 20.
The Vatican will take responsibility for supporting the families. But the Catholic Sant’Egidio community will take care of getting them settled initially.