Pope Francis presided over the installation of a migrant crucifix in the Vatican Thursday, on which he had a migrant life vest placed on the cross in place of the body of Jesus.
The ceremony of the hanging of the new cross took place at the end of a meeting between the pope and a group of 33 migrants that the pontiff had flown over from the Greek island of Lesbos.
The life jacket on the cross was recovered adrift in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea last July and is believed to have belonged to a migrant who died at sea.
“We are facing another death caused by injustice,” Francis said in his address to the migrants. “Yes, because it is injustice that forces many migrants to leave their lands. It is injustice that forces them to cross deserts and suffer abuse and torture in detention camps. It is injustice that rejects them and makes them die at sea.”
“I decided to exhibit this life jacket, ‘crucified’ on this cross, to remind us that we must keep our eyes open, keep our hearts open, to mind everyone of the absolute commitment to save every human life, a moral duty that unites believers and non-believers,” he said.