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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Pope: End fear, false beliefs about refugees by getting to know them

Getting to know someone who is a refugee can wipe away fears and dismantle distorted ideologies, Pope Francis said.

Highlighting World Refugee Day, which is marked today, on 20th June, the pope asked that “concrete attention go to the women, men and children fleeing from conflict, violence and persecution.”

After praying the Angelus with visitors in St Peter’s Square on 18th June, he also asked that people pray for all those who have lost their lives on land or at sea in their attempt to flee for their lives.

“Their stories of heartache and hope can become opportunities for fraternally coming together and truly getting to know each other,” the pope said.

“In fact, personally meeting with refugees dispels fears and distorted ideologies” and becomes a way for people to grow in their humanity as they learn to make room for an attitude of openness and the building of bridges, he said.

One person becomes displaced every three seconds, the UN Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported on 19th June.

Picture: A young demonstrator marches to the Houses of Parliament in London on 17th September during a protest in support of refugees. (CNS photo/Peter Nicholls, Reuters).