VATICAN CITY.- Pope Francis affirmed that it is necessary to "take measures for protection and defense, as well as the integration of underage immigrants," in a message following the usual Sunday Angelus prayer.
From the window of the papal palace, Francis recalled that the Catholic Church celebrates this Sunday the World Day of the Immigrant and the Refugee and that this year is dedicated to the "immigrant, vulnerable and voiceless children".
"These unaccompanied little brothers are exposed to so many dangers, and there are many!" he exclaimed.
Several representatives of immigrants came to St. Peter's Square and the Pope asked them to "respect laws and traditions" and wished that they "could live in peace, while preserving the values of their cultures of origin."
"The encounter between several cultures is always an enrichment for all," Francis defended.
He also thanked "all those who work with the immigrants to welcome and accompany them in their difficulties" and encouraged them "to continue their work and to remember the example of St. Francisca Javiera Cabrini, patroness of immigrants."
He explained that the saint "took care of the stranger brother, in which there is a rejected, humiliated and suffering Jesus".
"And we are all strangers," Francis added.
On October 13, the Vatican published the Pope's message dedicated to "vulnerable, voiceless, immigrant children" in which he criticized that instead of favoring their integration, it was only a question of preventing their entry into countries or favoring their repatriation.
This day is celebrated in a moment in which humanitarian associations have denounce the disappearance of near 10,000 child immigrants after their arrival in Europe.
Only in Italy, in 2016, more than 25,800 unaccompanied minors have arrived, twice as many as the previous year, and that ended disappearing, living in the streets, in detention centers or, just the smallest or fortunate, in houses with families. EFE