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updated: 10/1/2017 11:37 AM

Pope in Bologna breaks bread with migrants, urges hope

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  • Pope Francis gesticulates  during his speech outside the Cathedral of Cesena, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)

    Pope Francis gesticulates during his speech outside the Cathedral of Cesena, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)
    Associated Press

  • Pope Francis cheers at children during his visit to Cesena, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)

    Pope Francis cheers at children during his visit to Cesena, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)
    Associated Press

  • Pope Francis caresses a man inside the Cathedral of Cesena, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)

    Pope Francis caresses a man inside the Cathedral of Cesena, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)
    Associated Press

  • Pope Francis kisses a boy during his visit to Cesena, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)

    Pope Francis kisses a boy during his visit to Cesena, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)
    Associated Press

  • Pope Francis delivers his address to the members of the clergy gathered inside the Cathedral of Cesena, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)

    Pope Francis delivers his address to the members of the clergy gathered inside the Cathedral of Cesena, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)
    Associated Press

  • Pope Francis, right, speaks to the people of Cesena, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. At left, Bishop of Cesena-Sarsina Douglas Regattieri listens. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)

    Pope Francis, right, speaks to the people of Cesena, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. At left, Bishop of Cesena-Sarsina Douglas Regattieri listens. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)
    Associated Press

  • Pope Francis, left, is flanked by Bishop of Cesena-Sarsina Douglas Regattieri as he arrives to speak to the people of Cesena, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)

    Pope Francis, left, is flanked by Bishop of Cesena-Sarsina Douglas Regattieri as he arrives to speak to the people of Cesena, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)
    Associated Press

  • Pope Francis, speaks to the people of Cesena, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit.  (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)

    Pope Francis, speaks to the people of Cesena, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)
    Associated Press

  • Pope Francis arrives at the Cathedral of Cesena, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)

    Pope Francis arrives at the Cathedral of Cesena, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)
    Associated Press

  • Pope Francis waves as he arrives in his pope-mobile in Piazza Maggiore Square, in Bologna, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (Alessandro Bianchi/ Pool photo via AP)

    Pope Francis waves as he arrives in his pope-mobile in Piazza Maggiore Square, in Bologna, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (Alessandro Bianchi/ Pool photo via AP)
    Associated Press

  • Pope Francis, left, prays inside the Cathedral of Cesena, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. At right the Bishop of Cesena-Sarsina Douglas Regattieri. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)

    Pope Francis, left, prays inside the Cathedral of Cesena, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. At right the Bishop of Cesena-Sarsina Douglas Regattieri. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)
    Associated Press

  • Pope Francis poses for a selfie with a woman during his vist to a regional migrant center, in Bologna, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit.  (Alessandro Bianchi/Pool Photo via AP)

    Pope Francis poses for a selfie with a woman during his vist to a regional migrant center, in Bologna, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (Alessandro Bianchi/Pool Photo via AP)
    Associated Press

  • Pope Francis poses for a selfie with a woman during his vist to a regional migrant center, in Bologna, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit.  (Alessandro Bianchi/Pool Photo via AP)

    Pope Francis poses for a selfie with a woman during his vist to a regional migrant center, in Bologna, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (Alessandro Bianchi/Pool Photo via AP)
    Associated Press

  • Pope Francis hugs a boy inside the Cathedral of Cesena, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)

    Pope Francis hugs a boy inside the Cathedral of Cesena, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)
    Associated Press

  • Pope Francis is greeted by two children as he arrives in Cesena, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)

    Pope Francis is greeted by two children as he arrives in Cesena, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)
    Associated Press

  • Pope Francis, right, wears an identification bracelet as he meets with migrants at a regional migrant center, in Bologna, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (Alessandro Bianchi/ Pool photo via AP)

    Pope Francis, right, wears an identification bracelet as he meets with migrants at a regional migrant center, in Bologna, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (Alessandro Bianchi/ Pool photo via AP)
    Associated Press

  • Pope Francis, right, wearing an identification bracelet, shakes hands with with migrants at a regional migrant center, in Bologna, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (Alessandro Bianchi/ Pool photo via AP)

    Pope Francis, right, wearing an identification bracelet, shakes hands with with migrants at a regional migrant center, in Bologna, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (Alessandro Bianchi/ Pool photo via AP)
    Associated Press

  • Pope Francis meets with migrants at a regional migrant center, in Bologna, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)

    Pope Francis meets with migrants at a regional migrant center, in Bologna, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)
    Associated Press

  • Pope Francis, right, wears an identification bracelet as he meets with migrants at a regional migrant center, in Bologna, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)

    Pope Francis, right, wears an identification bracelet as he meets with migrants at a regional migrant center, in Bologna, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)
    Associated Press

  • Pope Francis cheers to a boy inside the Cathedral of Cesena, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)

    Pope Francis cheers to a boy inside the Cathedral of Cesena, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)
    Associated Press

  • Pope Francis meets with migrants at a regional migrant center, in Bologna, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)

    Pope Francis meets with migrants at a regional migrant center, in Bologna, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)
    Associated Press

  • Pope Francis meets with migrants at a regional migrant center, in Bologna, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)

    Pope Francis meets with migrants at a regional migrant center, in Bologna, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)
    Associated Press

  • Pope Francis meets with migrants at a regional migrant center, in Bologna, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)

    Pope Francis meets with migrants at a regional migrant center, in Bologna, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)
    Associated Press

  • Pope Francis poses for selfies with migrants as they display a banner asking for a legal status, at a regional migrant center, in Bologna, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)

    Pope Francis poses for selfies with migrants as they display a banner asking for a legal status, at a regional migrant center, in Bologna, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Pope Francis is in Cesena and Bologna for a one-day visit. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)
    Associated Press

 
 

BOLOGNA, Italy -- Pope Francis pressed his campaign for Europe to open its doors to migrants Sunday, visiting a migrant center in northern Italy, breaking bread with refugees and insisting that politicians work for the most marginalized people and not special interests.

During a busy day in Bologna, Francis spent over an hour meeting with hundreds of migrants, greeting them one-by-one and patiently posing for selfies under drizzly skies. He hosted a luncheon of lasagna and turkey for asylum-seekers and prisoners in Bologna's basilica, sitting down at a table in front of the altar.

He drew cheers when he ad-libbed that he knew the migrants were desperate to have identification documents, and again when he insisted that each one had a name and a story of the tragedies endured to arrive in Italy. He donned the same plastic ID bracelet that the migrants were wearing and led hundreds in silent prayer for those who died in the journey.

"I hope your hope doesn't become delusion, or worse, desperation," he said.

Francis, the son of Italian immigrants to Argentina, urged European countries to open humanitarian corridors to let refugees in more quickly. And he pressed local leaders to integrate migrants into their communities.

The visit to the migrant center was the highlight of a day that saw Francis emphasizing some of his top priorities: welcoming migrants, having dignified work for all and having an ethics-based political leadership. It was a message that went over well in a region famous for its food, culture of welcome and left-leaning politics.

"We need words that reach minds and hearts, not screams to the gut," he said.

At his first stop in Cesena, Francis spoke to thousands in the main square about the importance of "piazza" in the life of a city, a place where people of all stripes come together and share a sense of community.

"This piazza, like all the other piazzas of Italy, recalls the need for good politics in the life of a community, not one that serves individual ambitions or the power of factions or interests," he said.

Francis also honored Bologna as a historic center of learning and culture, noting that its university is the longest-continually operated university in the west. He told students they had a right to culture, hope and peace - and said recent populist and nationalist movements in Europe were threatening that peace.

Francis didn't refer directly to the violence that broke out during Catalonia's disputed independence referendum Sunday. But he urged Europeans to put aside nationalistic and other interests for the sake of unity.

"Don't be afraid of unity!" he said. "May special interests and nationalism not render the courageous dreams of the founders of the European Union in vain."

___

Winfield reported from Rome.

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