"The Gospel calls us to be neighbors to the smallest and most abandoned," the pope said

By Adam Carlson
Updated September 06, 2015 01:45 PM
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Pope Francis said Sunday that the Vatican is taking in two families of refugees – and each and every Catholic convent, monastery, parish and sanctuary in Europe should do the same, NBC News reports.

“The Gospel calls us to be neighbors to the smallest and most abandoned, to give them concrete hope,” he said in remarks in St. Peter’s Square, referring to the “tens of thousands of refugees that flee death in conflict and hunger and are on a journey of hope,” in Europe’s ongoing migrant crisis.

It is not enough, Francis said, to say to these people, “Have courage, hang in there.”

“May every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every sanctuary in Europe host a family, starting with my diocese of Rome,” he said.

The Vatican has not yet chosen which families will be sheltered, according to the Associated Press.

“The European and Italian church is ready to mobilize to receive” refugees, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, a religious leader, told Vatican Radio, according to the AP.

The migrant crisis this year has claimed the lives of more than 3,700 people, according to USA Today, as they flee from countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, which have been riven by violence.

Images of the drowning of a 3-year-old Syrian boy (warning: graphic content), who was trying to flee to Europe with his family, made international headlines last week.

On Saturday, Germany and Austria announced they would welcome thousands of refugees from Hungary, where they had been stuck in limbo as the country worked to process their asylum requests.