A young Lebanese woman sang a song in Syriac in front of Pope Francis in Marseille, Southern France, Saturday, during the closing session of the "Rencontres méditerranéennes," a week-long gathering of 70 bishops and young people from around this sea, marked by the presence of the three great monotheistic religions.
?Diana, libanaise, entonne un chant en syriaque à la fin de la session de clôture des @rencontresmed23. #PapeAMarseille— KTOTV (@KTOTV) September 23, 2023
?À revoir en intégralité sur : https://t.co/7fyktCn2kM pic.twitter.com/qnz5HX5gDP
Before a crowd gathered at Marseille's Velodrome stadium, Diana Abi Nader performed a song inspired by the Ave Maria, according to a video Vatican News posted on X (Twitter). The pontiff greeted her at the end of her performance.
Pope Francis' trip to Marseille is the first by a Catholic pope in almost 500 years. At a giant mass held Saturday in a city where political rhetoric is largely dominated by denunciations of the plight of migrants, he denounced the "tragic rejection of human life, which today is denied to many who emigrate."
In a speech delivered earlier Saturday, Francis said that "those who risk their lives at sea are not invading. They are seeking hospitality," and that this process must be managed "with a European responsibility capable of facing up to objective difficulties."
His words come as hostility in Europe toward would-be exiles is growing, and at a time when a new wave of arrivals on the Italian island of Lampedusa has put European Union solidarity to the test.
Pope Francis spoke Friday with French President Emmanuel Macron, whose government will shortly present a new immigration law, in which the issue of regularizing undocumented workers is the subject of debate.