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The Pope, grandson of immigrants, urges Catholics to take in refugees

Pope Francis lashes out at plans, like Donald Trump's, to build walls.

The pope wants Catholic parishes to help with the European refugee crisis.

Reuters


Pope Francis is solidifying his position as the pontiff of the immigrants.

His Holiness wants his European flock to pitch in and help address the staggering European refugee crisis -- and he is putting words into action.

"I appeal to the parishes, the religious communities, the monasteries and sanctuaries of all Europe to ... take in one family of refugees," he said in a Vatican City address.

"May every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every sanctuary of Europe host a family, starting from my diocese of Rome," Francis said at the end of his Angelus prayers on Sunday.

|<image-caption/>|Reuters

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"The two parishes in the Vatican these days will welcome two families of refugees," the pope.

Pope Francis, who will meet with immigrant families in New York and Philadelphia during his U.S. visit, has been focused on the plight of people seeking a better life ever since his elevation in 2003.

His first trip after he took charge of the Catholic church was to a tiny island between Sicily and Tunisia called Lampedusa.

The island is a frequent first landing place for immigrants traveling by rickety boats that all too often sink in the Mediterranean Sea.

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His call came as tens of thousands of migrants from the war torn Middle East continued to flood Austria and Germany over the weekend.

There are more than 25,000 parishes in Italy alone, the news service reported, and more than 12,000 in Germany, where many of the Syrians fleeing civil war and people trying to escape poverty and hardship in other countries say they want to end up.

The pope is the grandson of Italian emigrants to Argentina and he had a message for Hungarian leaders who are building a wall at the EU's border because of the migrant flood.

RELATED: Emotional migrant images from Budapest.

"It is violence to build walls and barriers to stop those who look for a place of peace. It is violence to push back those who flee inhuman conditions in the hope of a better future," he wrote said in a letter to a church association meeting in Albania.

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump has called for a massive wall on the American border with Mexico, to stem the tide of immigrants from that country.

John A. Oswald is editor-at-large at Metro and can be found on Twitter@nyc_oz.
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