ROME—Pope Francis responded to Europe’s burgeoning immigration crisis Sunday, asking every Catholic church on the continent to set an example of Christian mercy by taking in a family of refugees.
“May every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every sanctuary in Europe host a family,” the pope told a crowd in St. Peter’s Square after reciting the traditional noon Angelus prayer.
There are approximately 120,000 parishes in Europe, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University. The pope added that the Vatican itself would receive two families in the next few days.
The pope has made migration one of the major social causes of his pontificate. Only a few months after his election in 2013, he visited the southern Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, a major entry point for undocumented immigrants to Europe, where he denounced rich nations’ indifference to the thousands who had died trying to cross the sea from North Africa.