Two thousand immigrants at the Dono di Maria shelter near the Vatican were thrilled to receive Christmas presents from none other than Pope Francis. He sent them useful gift packages to allow them to connect with family over the holiday season, including a Christmas card signed by the Pope, postage stamps, a pre-paid international calling card, and a free day-pass for the Rome metro, reports Catholic News Agency.
Papal almoner Archbishop Konrad Krajewski personally helped the sisters of the Missionaries of Charity hand out the gifts. Sister Michelle told CNA that "the immigrants received the presents with love and were thankful for the opportunity to call and write their loved ones during the Christmas season."
As an advocate for the poor and marginalized, Pope Francis has specifically spoken out on behalf of immigrants. On the World Day of Migrants and Refugees in September he condemned "slave labor" and human trafficking. "Migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity," he said. "They are children, women and men who leave or who are forced to leave their homes for various reasons, who share a legitimate desire for knowing and having, but above all for being more."
The Dono di Maria home was founded by Mother Teresa 25 years ago under Pope John Paul II's blessing, according to Patheos.