Southern Africa: Comment on Pope Francis' Visit to Lesbos
23 May 2016

South Africa Country Office, Senior Social Worker, Dan Mhlongo, spoke to Father Brian Mhlanga, on South Africa’s premiere Catholic radio station, Radio Veritas. (Gushwell F. Brooks/Jesuit Refugee Service)
"Do not lose hope. The greatest gift we can offer to one another is love."

Johannesburg, 23 May 2016 - Pope Francis made headlines recently when he took three Syrian refugee families, including six children, back with him to the Vatican after a visit to the Greek island of Lesbos. The Vatican said in a statement that Pope Francis wanted to "make a gesture of welcome'' to the refugees.

Pope Francis, whilst speaking to refugees in Moria Camp on the island, said that:"you are not alone".

At the time, approximately 3 000 people were being held in the camp on Lesbos. In his speech, the Pope acknowledged "the great sacrifice" the people in the camp had made, saying he wanted to "draw the attention of the world to this grave humanitarian crisis".

He told the camp's residents: "Do not lose hope. The greatest gift we can offer to one another is love." At the time, the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who also met the pontiff, said the visit "sends a message that surpasses Greece's and Europe's borders". Prior to this, in September 2015, Pope Francis made headlines yet again when he made space available in the Vatican apartments for two refugee families, urging Catholics across Europe to play their part to resolve the crisis.

Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), South Africa Country Office, Senior Social Worker, Dan Mhlongo, spoke to Father Brian Mhlanga, on South Africa’s premiere Catholic radio station, Radio Veritas, about the significance of this gesture. The two also explored how we as hosting nations and people should respond to the plight of refugees throughout the world. The podcast of the conversation on the 18thApril 2016, follows below.

Gushwell F. Brooks, JRS Southern Africa Communications Officer, returns this Monday 23rd May 2016, on Radio Veritas, hosting the Changing Gear afternoon Drive time show, featuring Mona Panda, JRS Angola, Country Director, on the half an hour JRS Radio slot at 16:30PM. You can stream the show live here.


 







Press Contact Information
Gushwell F. Brooks
gushwell.brooks@jrs.net
+27 11 618 3404