"No One Is a Foreigner" in the Church, John Paul II Says

Visits Roman Parish with Numerous Immigrants

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ROME, MAR. 4, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Parishes must open their doors wide to immigrants, because in the Church «no one is a foreigner,» the Pope said this morning, when he visited a parish community on the outskirts of Rome.

As Bishop of Rome, John Paul II went to St. Andrew the Apostle Church, located north of Rome. He was welcomed in a festive atmosphere by 18,000 multiethnic faithful.

Together with upper-middle class, professional families, there were many immigrants from a variety of countries, including the Philippines, Cape Verde, Sri Lanka, Poland and Ukraine, who work as domestics. Some of them came to the meeting with the Pope in their native dress.

During the homily, John Paul II said, «In the Church, no one is a foreigner: For this reason, it is important to create occasions for dialogue and foster reciprocal understanding. Above all it is necessary that each one feel involved in a pastoral endeavor that responds to the people´s real needs.»

«Therefore, you must know how to be a community open to all, persevering in listening to the word of God, and the celebration of the sacraments of salvation,» the Pope said to the second largest Roman parish in terms of number of immigrants.

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