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Pope Invites Refugees to Join Him on Stage for Audience

FILE - A journalists uses his mobile phone to take a picture of Pope Francis aboard the papal airplane.

Pope Francis has invited a dozen refugees to join him on the steps of St. Peter's Basilica for his general audience to press his demand for Europe to welcome more migrants.

A dozen men ascended the steps with Francis on Wednesday and sat in front of him on the ground as he delivered his weekly catechism lesson. They carried banners of the charity that is caring for them and Vatican flags.

In his remarks, Francis said the refugees had suffered in their home countries.

He said: “Please they are our brothers. A Christian excludes no one. I ask all of you: Let everyone come.”

Francis brought a dozen Syrian refugees home with him when he visited Greece in April. Recently, the Vatican brought a second group to Rome.