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posted: 9/30/2017 7:00 AM

Pope to mayors: Don't build towers, expand piazzas

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  • Pope Francis acknowledges the applause by Italian mayors on the occasion of a meeting with them at the Clementine Hall at the Vatican, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017.  Francis is urging mayors to redouble their efforts to welcome migrants and refugees and promote ways to integrate them into their new communities. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)

    Pope Francis acknowledges the applause by Italian mayors on the occasion of a meeting with them at the Clementine Hall at the Vatican, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. Francis is urging mayors to redouble their efforts to welcome migrants and refugees and promote ways to integrate them into their new communities. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)
    Associated Press

  • A man wears a shirt with a slogan welcoming migrants during a private audience between Pope Francis and Italian mayors, at the Clementine Hall at the Vatican, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017.  Francis is urging mayors to redouble their efforts to welcome migrants and refugees and promote ways to integrate them into their new communities. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)

    A man wears a shirt with a slogan welcoming migrants during a private audience between Pope Francis and Italian mayors, at the Clementine Hall at the Vatican, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. Francis is urging mayors to redouble their efforts to welcome migrants and refugees and promote ways to integrate them into their new communities. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)
    Associated Press

 
 

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis is urging Italian mayors to redouble their efforts to welcome migrants and refugees and promote ways to integrate them into their new communities.

In a meeting Saturday with the mayors, Francis said he understood the difficulties of providing accommodation and services for the waves of migrants who have arrived in Italy in recent years. But he called for a new ethics-based model of local leadership "that doesn't leave those who arrive on our territory on the margins," and creates spaces for people to meet and get to know one another.

He said: "It's not about building higher towers, but expanding piazzas."

This week Francis launched an education campaign urging politicians and people to go out and meet migrants and hear their stories, rather than considering them faceless statistics.

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