Pope Francis celebrated this Friday, on the second day of his visit to Cyprus, a mass at the GSP Stadium in Nicosia, in which several thousand faithful participated, especially migrant workers from the Philippines, Poland and several African countries. that they are the ones who make up the Catholic community in this country with an Orthodox majority.
Occupying only one of the stadium’s stands, and with the altar placed right in front, they close 10,000 faithful present, according to Vatican sources, who represented the country’s Catholics were able to attend with “a lot of hope” to the mass of Francisco, as they explained to the news agency Efe a group of Filipino women, almost all of them domestic workers, who did not stop waving their country’s flags.
Among the faithful there were also several migrants from Cameroon or Namibia, like Jean Michell, who along with his compatriots of the Catholic faith showed his happiness to see the Pope in this country, which he arrived two years ago after a long journey through Turkey to finally land on this Mediterranean island.
The patriarch of the Latinos of Jerusalem, Pierbattista Pizzaballa, representing the Latino Catholics of Cyprus, spoke of how “This small island, although wounded by so many divisions” has a Church that is an example of “welcome and integration, as can be seen in this assembly, in which it is not possible to distinguish between who is Cypriot and who is not, where the most diverse origins come from: Asians, Africans, Europeans, immigrants, foreign workers ”.
Cyprus is the European Union country that receives the most refugees compared to its population and it is estimated that this year some 10,000 migrants have arrived, 38% more than in 2020.
The pope stated in his sermon that “You can’t face the dark alone” and that “if we carry our inner blinds alone, we are overwhelmed. We need to put ourselves next to each other, share the wounds and face the path together ”.
“Dear brothers and sisters, in the face of each personal darkness and the challenges that are presented to us in the Church and in society we are called to renew brotherhood. If we remain divided among ourselves, if each one thinks only of himself or his group, if we do not come together, if we do not dialogue, if we do not walk together, we will not be able to fully cure blindness“, said.
And he encouraged Catholics to give “words of comfort that shine lights of hope in the darkness” and “that bring caresses to the loneliness of suffering and poverty.”
The Catholics in Cyprus, divided into Maronites and Latins, do not reach 1% of the population, but in recent years they have increased with the arrival of foreign workers to the country.
(With information from EFE)
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