Pope Francis leads prayers for migrants at Christmas Eve Mass

Pope Francis has urged Roman Catholics to offer prayers for millions of migrants “driven from their land”, during Christmas Eve Mass.

Comparing the migrants to Mary and Joseph, the pope, recounted the Biblical story of how they travelled from Nazareth to Bethlehem but found no place to stay.

According to him, many migrant were being forced to flee from leaders who “see no problem in shedding innocent blood”

“So many other footsteps are hidden in the footsteps of Joseph and Mary,” the 81-year-old Argentine pontiff, himself the grandson of Italian migrants, told worshipers in St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City on Sunday evening.

“We see the tracks of millions of persons who do not choose to go away but, driven from their land, leave behind their dear ones.”

The leader of the world’s estimated 1.2bn Roman Catholics also stressed that faith demanded that foreigners be welcomed everywhere.

The number of refugees worldwide exceeds 22 million, with the latest cross-border influx being the Rohingya fleeing violence in Myanmar.

Credit: The BBC