Pope Francis urges the faithful to be like the people of Malta, who in 60AD, welcomed and accepted St Paul and his companions in their moment of difficulty

epa08150416 A handout picture provided by the Vatican Media shows Pope Francis blessing a child during his weekly General Audience in Paul VI Hall, Vatican City, 20 January 2020. EPA-EFE/VATICAN MEDIA HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

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Pope Francis urged men and women of goodwill to promote and practice a culture of welcome, especially towards vulnerable migrants in search of a better life. He decried recent government policies that have seen migrant ships in the Mediterranean be denied access to a safe port.

Vatican News reports that while speaking during his General Audience on Wednesday, the Pope referred to the passage in the Acts of the Apostles in which St Paul is shipwrecked on the island of Malta. The Pope compared St Paul and his companions to the migrants of today. The hospitality they received from the people of Malta, said the Pope, reflects the love of God.

Today, the sea on which Paul and his companions were shipwrecked is, once again, a dangerous place for the lives of other sailors. All over the world migrant men and women face risky voyages to escape violence, to escape war, to escape poverty.

Pope Francis said that many times, just as Paul and his companions did, those who are travelling experience indifference; the hostility of the desert, the rivers, the seas… “Many times they don’t allow them to dock in ports”.

Vatican News

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