VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis on Thursday hosted 21 Syrian refugees for lunch at his residence, where children gave him their drawings of war and their dramatic escapes by sea.
The pope appeared particularly moved by one drawing by a boy depicting a child first swimming in a sea of blood and then swimming in a blue-coloured sea, video released by the Vatican showed.
Another drawing showed a tank and stick figures shooting at each other while one more depicted two children running away from danger hand-in-hand.
The lunch was attended by families of Syrian refugees, most of them Muslims. The Vatican is paying for their upkeep as they start a new life in Rome under the auspices of the Sant’ Egidio Community, a Rome-based Catholic charity and peace group.
A dozen flew out of Lesbos on the pope’s plane when he visited a refugee camp on the Greek island in April. The others arrived in Rome later.
The lunch took place at the Santa Marta residence, a guest house inside the Vatican where the pope has chosen to live instead of the spacious papal apartments used by his predecessors in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace.
Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Hugh Lawson