VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis has lit a candle to symbolize hope for migrants at the same moment a Christmas tree was illuminated in front of St. Francis’ Basilica in Assisi.
The pope called himself Francis at his 2013 election to honor the Assisi saint and to stress the saint’s dedication to the poor. On Sunday evening at the Vatican, Pope Francis lit an oil candle to symbolically represent lighting the tall tree in Assisi. At the foot of the tree is a wooden fishing boat used by North African migrants to sail to Lampedusa, Sicily, in 2014. Refugees were invited to attend the Assisi tree ceremony.
In a video hookup, the pope told the migrants their hearts may be pained but their heads are “high in the hope of the Lord.”