Lampedusa

Pope celebrates Mass from altar made from boat

Pontiff prays for those present and who did not make it

Pope celebrates Mass from altar made from boat

(see previous) Lampedusa, July 8 - A line of migrants waited in the front row of an open air stadium as Pope Francis arrived to celebrate Mass from an altar made from a boat during his official visit to the island of Lampedusa on Monday. Francis chose not to have the so-called pope-mobile shipped to Lampedusa for this trip and instead arrived to the island's open-air 'Arena' stadium in a Fiat Campagnola off-road car. The pontiff told some 50 migrants waiting for him at the Punta Favarolo port the he would pray for them and "those who are not here". "I greet you all and thank you for your welcome," the pope told the crowd, some of whom were Christian and others Muslim. "We are all here today in prayer...this is why I am here today. Thank you, thank you," Francis said. The crossing between Italy and North Africa is very dangerous and every year people die attempting it. Several hours before the pope arrived to Lampedusa, a boat carrying 166 immigrants was towed to shore by the Italian Coast Guard. Francis placed a commemorative wreath into the sea to pay tribute to the numerous migrants who die at sea.

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