Pope Francis addresses the performer and organizers of the Christmas Concert in
the Vatican’s Clementine Hall, Dec. 14, 2018. Credit: Vatican Media.
By Courtney Grogan
Vatican City, (CNA/EWTN News).- This Christmas it is particularly important to
support refugees and migrants, Pope Francis said Friday, ahead of the Vatican
Christmas Concert fundraiser in support of young refugee education.
“Christmas is always new because it invites us to be reborn in faith, to open
ourselves to hope, to rekindle charity,” Pope Francis said in the Clementine Hall of
the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace.
“This year, in particular, calls us to reflect on the situation of many men, women and
children of our time – migrants, displaced persons, and refugees – marching to
escape wars, miseries caused by social injustice and climate change,” the pope
Pope Francis stressed his particular concern for the “little ones” among migrants,
who face dangerous situations and “long marches on foot” when they should be
“sitting among the school desks, like their peers.”
“They too need training to be able to work tomorrow and participate as citizens,
aware of the common good,” he commented.
The Holy Father expressed gratitude for the work of two papal charities that support
young refugees in Iraq and Uganda. “Missioni Don Bosco” in Uganda and “Scholas
Occurrentes” in Iraq will both receive proceeds from the Vatican Christmas Concert
taking place in Vatican City’s Paul VI Hall.
“Missioni Don Bosco” is an Italian Catholic charity supporting the education of
disadvantaged youth in developing countries. Their Salesian missionaries in Uganda
aid refugee families from South Sudan. One of their educational projects in the
Palabek refugee camp provides vocational training to 1,500 students, who also
receive one meal a day.
The Pontifical Foundation’s “Scholas Occurrentes” was founded by Bergoglio while
he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires as an initiative to encourage social integration
and the culture of encounter through technology, arts and sports.
On Friday, Pope Francis met with young Iraqi refugees supported by “Scholas
Occurrentes,” and the artists performing in the Christmas concert, and shared his
message on the importance of education and solidarity.
The pope drew a direct link between the Christmas story and the needs of child
refugees today. “When the violent anger of Herod struck the territory of Bethlehem,
the Holy Family of Nazareth experienced the anguish of persecution, and guided by
God, took refuge in Egypt,” he said.
“The little Jesus reminds us that half of the refugees of today, in the world, are
children, innocent victims of human injustices,” he continued.