A group of 21 Syrian refugees – now living in Rome, hosted by the Community of Sant’Egidio – have had lunch with Pope Francis at St. Martha’s House today. These families arrived to Italy after Pope Francis’ visit to the island of Lesbos in Greece. The first group of refugees arrived with the Pope’s flight on April 16; the second one arrived in mid-June, according to a statement made by the director of the Press Office of the Holy See, Greg Burke.
“Both adults and children – Burke explained – have had the opportunity to talk with Pope Francis about the beginning of their lives in Italy. Children gave the Holy Father a collection of their drawings and the Pope gave then “toys and other gifts”. With the Pontiff and his Syrian guests, there were also the substitute of the Secretariat of State, Msgr. Angelo Becciu; Andrea Riccardi, founder of the Community of Sant’Egidio, together with other members of the community; the commander of the Corps of Gendarmerie, Domenico Giani, and two gendarmes who cooperated in the transfer of the families from Lesbos in Italy.