Meeting with Pope Francis within the project Snapshots from the Borders

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Bucharest, 22nd of September 2020

PRESS RELEASE

The meeting with Pope Francis – an encouragement for the partners Snapshots from the Borders and a call for solidarity and empathy for migrants

On 10th of September 2020, the Holy Father Pope Francis received in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace the mayor of Lampedusa Totò Martello, together with a short delegation of the project “Snapshots from the Borders”: mayors and representatives of the civil society organisations partners in the project. or100920122647_0109During the meeting, there have been touched some of the issues related to migration flows and to the commitment of the border territories involved in the front line on the reception and integration of migrants. Even if it was not possible to be present to this meeting due to travel restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic, Novapolis Association and the Municipality of Constanta, partners in the project, are honoured and highly appreciate the openness and solidarity of the Holy Father Pope Francis regarding the management of migration flows and challenges encountered by border towns and territories.

100920_10Pope Francis reminded us of the importance of remaining human, and of remaining united. In his speech the Holy Father Pope Francis highlighted “We must act together, not alone. It is also essential to change the way we see and narrate migration: it is about placing people, faces, stories, at the centre. So here is the importance of projects, such as the one you are promoting, that try to put forward different approaches, inspired by the culture of encounter, which is the path towards a new humanism. And when I say “new humanism”, I do not only mean it as a philosophy of life, but also as spirituality, as a style of behaviour. The inhabitants of frontier towns and territories – societies, communities, Churches – are called to be the first actors of this turning point, thanks to the constant opportunities that history offers them.

or100920122316_0005Frontiers, which have always been considered as barriers of separation, can instead become “windows”, spaces of mutual knowledge, of mutual enrichment, of communion in diversity; they can become places where models are experimented to overcome the difficulties that new arrivals entail for native communities. I encourage you to continue to work together for the culture of encounter and solidarity.” Within the audience at the Vatican, it was also illustrated to Pope Francis the campaign, launched by the Snapshots project, to make October 3rd (the date that in 2013 saw the most dramatic sinking of migrants in the sea of Lampedusa) become the “European Day of Memory and Welcoming”. *** The “Snapshots from the Borders” project, funded by the European Union, is led by the Municipality of Lampedusa and Linosa, and brings together 36 partners (19 cities, islands and border territories from 13 European countries involved in the front line on the reception of migrants and 17 civil society associations). For more information about the project http://www.snapshotsfromtheborders.eu/romania-projects/ or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/snapshotsfromtheborders/, mobile 0725 259 919, e-mail: asociatianovapolis@gmail.com, contact person Iris Alexe, national coordinator.