During a visit to Marseille, on Friday evening, Pope Francis gathered with members of religious and local Church and lay organisations involved in the care of seafarers, migrants, and refugees for an interfaith moment of recollection at the French city’s memorial site commemorating sailors and migrants lost at sea.
The Pope began his remarks by expressing his solidarity with all those who have lost loved ones at sea, whether they be sailors, migrants, or refugees. He went on to say that the sea is a place of encounter between peoples, but also a place of danger and death. He called on those present to remember all those who have died at sea, and to commit themselves to working for the safety of all seafarers, migrants, and refugees.
“We cannot be resigned to seeing human beings treated as bargaining chips, imprisoned and tortured in atrocious ways; we can no longer watch the drama of shipwrecks, caused by the cruel trafficking and the fanaticism of indifference. People who are at risk of drowning when abandoned on the waves must be rescued. It is a duty of humanity; it is a duty of civilisation!” – Pope Francis.
The Pope then led the group in a moment of silent prayer, after which he blessed a plaque in memory of those who have died at sea.
This interfaith moment of recollection is just one of the many ways in which Pope Francis has shown his solidarity with those who are most vulnerable in our world today. He has consistently called for compassion and action on behalf of migrants and refugees, and has urged world leaders to do more to protect the rights and safety of all people, regardless of their nationality or status.