“I am here to tell you from the bottom of my heart that I am by your side,” said Pope Francis, with obvious emotion, in his speech from the Mavrovouni Reception and Identification Center (RIC) in Lesvos, where he arrived shortly before 11 a.m.

“Whoever is afraid of you has not seen you in the eyes. He has not seen the eyes of your children “, he noted addressing the refugees and immigrants, while he stressed that the refugee crisis is a matter that concerns us all.

Pope Francis insisted in his speech on the need for coordinated actions to deal with the refugee crisis, saying that “unilateral actions are not useful, but what we need now broad-minded policies. This is something that history teaches but we haven’t learned it yet”. Moreover, he stressed the fact that the refugee crisis is a matter that concerns us all and we should stop playing the blame game and start collaborating with each other so as to successfully deal with this issue.

Touching reception

Pope Francis arrived at the Reception and Identification Center (RIC) in Lesvos shortly before 11 a.m., with refugees and immigrants warmly welcoming him.

Some of them shouted “we love you” and others kissed his hand with respect. Young children offered him flowers and sang a hymn.

Upon his arrival, Pope Francis greeted all the children living in the RIC. Some even cheered while others picked up their cell phones to capture the Pope’s visit. It was a special moment when one of the children in the RIC fell into his arms.

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