On the 109th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis emphasized the fundamental right of people to choose whether to stay in their homeland or seek opportunities elsewhere.

Speaking after the Angelus prayer on September 24, he highlighted that migrating should be a genuine choice, not a forced one.

“Migrating should be a free choice, and never the only one possible,” he said, adding that for many, it feels like they no longer have that choice due to war, poverty or climate challenges.

Pope Francis advocated for the creation of more inclusive communities that “welcome, promote, accompany and integrate” those who arrive seeking refuge.

Drawing attention to his recent participation in the Mediterranean Meetings in Marseille, Pope Francis underscored the city’s historic role as a convergence point for diverse cultures and civilizations. These meetings revolved around the complexities of migration, especially in the Mediterranean region. Pope Francis said “the Mediterranean has historically been a melting pot of cultures and civilizations.”

Pope Francis urged for a collective spirit of compassion and unity, saying, “In these challenging times, let us embrace the spirit of empathy and unity, welcoming those who seek refuge with open hearts and minds.”

He also invited everyone to an ecumenical prayer vigil in St. Peter’s Square on September 30 in preparation for the Synod on Synodality.

Ending his Angelus address, Pope Francis invoked the blessings of Our Lady, expressing hope that she would inspire people to embrace “a love without measure.”

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