Pope Francis on Sunday used the Christmas Eve Mass to focus on refugees and migrants, drawing a parallel between their travails and that of the holy family at the time of the birth of Jesus. In the traditional Chritmas mass on Sunday night in Rome's St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis focused on the world refugees and displaced, saying that their footsteps followed the holy family during the night of the nativity.
Recalling that Mary gave birth to Jesus in a manger because "there was no place for them in the inn," Francis highlighted the relevance of the biblical story in today's world.
Using the example of the holy family to emphasize the "dangers that attend those who have to leave their home behind," Francis noted that in Bethlehem, Joseph and Mary found a city "that had no room or place for the stranger from afar," and which "seemed to want to build itself up by turning its back on others." Instead, the pope said, Jesus "comes to give all of us our document of citizenship."
"We see the tracks of millions of persons who do not choose to go away but, driven from their land, leave behind their dear ones," he said, adding that while some seek a better life, "for many others this departure can only have one name: survival."
source: commonspace.eu with agencies
photo: Pope Francis celebrating mass in Rome's St Peter's Basilica on Christmas eve 2017.
Azerbaijani media identified him as Bahram Hasanzada, a foreign citizen, and says he "was engaged in espionage according to instructions from foreign services, to the detriment of Azerbaijan's state security".
The report makes a number of recommendations that "aim to guide peace negotiators, policymakers, donors, and national and international civil society activists who work to promote mutual understanding and peace between the societies divided by the Nagorny Karabakh conflict".