Embracing Pope Francis’request to sponsor a refugee family, the Vatican’s St Anne parish has welcomed a family of four from Damascus, Syria.
In an appeal on September 6, the Pope called on every parish, religious community, monastery and shrine in Europe to take in a family of refugees, given the ongoing crisis of people fleeing from war and poverty.
He said being Christian means giving a concrete sign of hope and God’s mercy to those in need.
The papal Almoner’s Office, which responds to individual requests for assistance and helps coordinate Pope Francis’ direct requests for assisting the homeless in Rome, announced on September 18 that a refugee family was being cared for by St Anne’s parish inside Vatican City.
The family – a mother, father and two children – belong to the Melkite Catholic Church, one of the Byzantine-rite churches in full union with Rome.
The family arrived in Italy on September 6, the day the Pope made his appeal, the Vatican said; they have been offered a Vatican apartment near St Peter’s Square, as requested by Pope Francis.
Their request for asylum had been filed with Italian authorities, the Vatican said, and in accordance with Italian law, family members are not allowed to seek employment for the next six months. St Anne’s parish was providing all needed assistance and care in the meantime.
The Vatican said St Peter’s Basilica was still in the process finalising details for taking in a refugee family.
The Almoner’s Office said that for years it has made financial contributions to Jesuit Refugee Service’s Astalli Centre in Rome to help cover the costs of permits that allow refugees to stay in Italy.
The office also provides funding and aid in the pope’s name for many refugees who receive services at a variety of other centers in Rome.
In addition, Pope Francis recently made available a mobile medical unit for refugees in Rome.
The medical unit had been donated to the Pope a few years ago, the Almoner’s Office said, and had been used only during papal events.
“For a few days now,” the unit has been brought out “a few times a week to assist refugees” in the outskirts of Rome.
The mobile unit is staffed by volunteers, who are doctors, nurses, Swiss guards, Vatican City State employees, staff at a Rome university and members of an Italian association of volunteer medics, the office said.
Having been unable to sell in churches for well over a year due to the pandemic, we are now inviting readers to support the Herald by investing in our future. We have been a bold and influential voice in the church since 1888, standing up for traditional Catholic culture and values.
Please join us on our 130 year mission by supporting us. We are raising £250,000 to safeguard the Herald as a world-leading voice in Catholic journalism and teaching. For more information from our chairman on contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund, click here
Make a Donation
Donors giving £500 or more will automatically become sponsor patrons of the Herald. This includes two complimentary print/digital gift subscriptions, invitations to Patron events, pilgrimages and dinners, and 6 gift subscriptions sent to priests, seminaries, Catholic schools, religious care homes and prison and university chaplaincies. Click here for more information on becoming a Patron Sponsor. Click here for more information about contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund