• Pope Francis is donating to the parish church of Lampedusa a crucifix that was gifted to him by President Raul Castro of Cuba during the recent papal visit to the Caribbean island. Measuring over 3 metres high, the crucifix is crafted from wooden oars tied with ropes to symbolize the reality of migrants who have crossed the Mediterranean by boat. Lampedusa is an island off the coast of Sicily whose shores receive the majority of migrants and refugees crossing the Mediterranean sea by boat from Libya to Italy. The tiny island was also the first place in Italy that Pope Francis chose to visit after his election.

    Pope Francis’ decision was announced by Cardinal Francesco Montenegro of Agrigento whose archdiocese includes Lampedusa. He made the announcement at Italy’s National Ecclesial Congress in Florence that was attended by the Pope on Tuesday.

    On hearing of the Pope’s gift, the parish priest of Lampedusa Don Mimmo Zambito said the image of this crucifix symbolizes the mercy and humanity of Jesus Christ who triumphs over every conflict, knocking down walls and crossing borders. 

    The crucifix will be displayed in the Church of the Holy Cross in Agrigento for the local inauguration of the Jubilee Year of Mercy on December 11th and then will be taken on a pilgrimage across the archdiocese of Agrigento before taking up its final residence in the parish Church of Lampedusa. 

    Source: Vatican Radio