Pope’s mobile clinic is made available to refugees

Pope’s mobile clinic

Pope’s mobile clinic is made available to refugees

Andrea Tornielli/ Vatican Insider

It had been donated to Benedict XVI and is intended for use during events where the Pope is present. Now, it is serving migrants around Rome several times a week. Meanwhile, the first family of refugees from Damascus are being hosted in a house in the Vatican.

The first of two families of refugees the Vatican is to host has been accommodated in an apartment inside the city state, less than two weeks after Pope Francis launched his appeal at the Sunday Angelus, calling on every parish, religious community, sanctuary and parish in Europe to host a family of refugees. The Office of Papal Charities announced the news. It also informed that a mobile clinic which until now had been used for events attended by the Pope, is now assisting refugees, individuals with legal and illegal status, in Rome.

A statement reads: “A few days ago the parish of Sant’Anna in the Vatican, welcomed a refugee family composed of a father, a mother and two children. The family of Syrian nationals fled the city of Damascus, where they come from, due to the war. They arrived in Italy on Sunday, on the very same day the Holy Father sent out a heartfelt appeal during the Angelus prayer, for every parish, religious community, monastery and sanctuary to welcome a family. The family are Melkite Greek Catholics of the Patriarchate of Antioch.

The family of four is staying in an apartment near St. Peter’s, in the Vatican and therefore live outside the walls. “The process for international refugee protection status was initiated immediately,” the statement goes on to say. “In accordance with the law, asylum-seekers cannot work for the first six months after the request has been lodged. During this time, they will be assisted and guided by the parish community of Sant’Anna.”

The papal Almoner, Bishop Konrad Krajewski explains; “Until Italy decides on whether to grant the family refugee status or not, no information can be given regarding this family. So in order to protect them during this procedure for recognition status, it is best if the mass media also, respect their wishes not to be contacted and interviewed.” As far as the second family which is due to be hosted by another Vatican parish, the parish of St. Peter’s, he said “we are not in a position to give any information until completion of all necessary procedures.”

In this context of “Christian charity towards people fleeing war and hunger,” the statement continued, “it is worth highlighting that through the Papal Office of Charities, the Popes have for many years helped pay the fees for the issue of refugees’ first residence permit via Centro Astalli, the Jesuit refugee service (around €50,000 went to this cause in 2014). On top of this, the Papal Office of Charities helps numerous refugees and refugee families every day on behalf of the Pope. It also sees to the basic needs, including healthcare needs, of many welcome centres in Rome.”

Finally, Mgr. Krajewski informed that “for some days now, a modern mobile clinic that was donated years ago to the Pope and had so far been used exclusively at events presided over by him, is now being used several times a week to assist refugees, in welcome centres on the outskirts of Rome, including those without legal status.” The volunteers serving them are doctors, nurses and Swiss Guards; Vatican staff as well as staff from the University of Rome Tor Vergata and members of the Istituto di Medicina Solidale Onlus, an Italian non-profit organisation providing medical services.

Fri, 09/18/2015 - 17:00
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