Pope Francis celebrates special Mass for migrants
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Pope Francis called for "solidarity" with refugees during a special Mass Friday in Vatican City, where the leader of the Catholic Church invited several migrants and family members.

The Associated Press reports that Francis celebrated a special Mass solely for migrants on Friday at St. Peter’s Basilica, marking the fifth anniversary of the Pope's visit to the island of Lampedusa, for years the primary target of migrants heading for Europe.

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During the Mass, Francis denounced what he called the “globalization of indifference” toward refugees and the problems afflicting migrants around the world. He called on Christians and Catholics to embrace refugees and migrants into their communities.

"Before the challenge of contemporary movements of migration, the only reasonable response is one of solidarity and mercy,” Francis said.

Photos of Friday's event showed Pope Francis meeting migrants and offering communion, as dozens watched.

Francis has made caring for migrants and refugees a major part of his papal platform. In January, he marked the World Day of Migrants and Refugees with a special Mass urging communities to "open themselves without prejudices to [newcomers’] rich diversity."

“Local communities are sometimes afraid that the newly arrived will disturb the established order, will ‘steal’ something they have long labored to build up,” Francis said in January, adding that the “newly arrived ... are afraid of confrontation, judgement, discrimination, failure.”

“Having doubts and fears is not a sin. The sin is to allow these fears to determine our responses, to limit our choices, to compromise respect and generosity, to feed hostility and rejection,” he said.