Cardinal Antonio Maria Vegliò, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, will be visiting the Italian island of Lampedusa this Sunday.
The Italian cardinal, whose visit will mark the first anniversary of Pope Francis’ pastoral visit to the island on July 8th last year, will deliver a homily during Mass, to be celebrated in the Parish of St. Gerland.
The Mass, which will be broadcast live on Italy’s RAI-TV, will be the culmination of a series of events sponsored by the archdiocese of Agrigento to celebrate the Pope’s visit and to remember the thousands of victims who have lost their lives at sea.
Since the early 2000s, Lampedusa has been a prime transit point for illegal immigrants from Africa, the Middle East and Asia wanting to enter Europe. Many asylum seekers have lost their lives on their way by boat to the island, and its temporary immigration reception center has been criticized by the UN office for refugees for overcrowded conditions.