(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis this evening telephoned refugees sheltered in Kurdistan to express his closeness to them on Christmas night.
The telephone call to Father Benoca, who heads the Christian community in the Ankawa Refugee Center near Erbil, the capital city of Iraqi Kurdistan, was broadcast live by an Italian Catholic TV station.
Thousands of persecuted Christians have sought refuge in the camp following the invasion of Islamic State militants of Mosul.
Over the telephone line, the Pope told refugees that he is “close to them with all of his heart” and assured him he praying for them.
“You are like Jesus on the night of his birth when he had been forced to flee. You are like Jesus in this situation, and that means we are praying even harder for you”.
“Dear brothers – Pope Francis said - I am very, very close to you with all of my heart. May the Lord caress you with His tenderness”
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