Waldensian-Catholic meetings continue to grow in depth. Paolo Naso, the director of Mediterranean Hope, wrote the following letter about a meeting Waldensian leaders had Saturday with Pope Francis in the Vatican.
Dear friends in Europe and the Americas,
Pope Francis welcomed Eugenio Bernardini, the Moderator of the Tavola, and other Waldensian and Methodist leaders to the Vatican on Saturday, March 5. During the meeting, the pope praised the new ecumenical project known as Humanitarian Borders. He described its work in arranging to fly refugees from the Middle East and North Africa to Italy as "a concrete sign of commitment for peace and life."
The pope said Humanitarian Borders joins the two key values of solidarity with the poor and security for the vulnerable by facilitating the safe transfer of extremely vulnerable people fleeing war and violence. The pope spoke of "the one hundred refugees who have arrived so far in Italy, among whom are children, sick people, disabled people, widows and orphans and elderly people."
The approximately one hundred refugees who arrived in Rome in February represent only the first wave in a planned transfer of one thousand particularly vulnerable refugees from camps in Lebanon, Morocco and Ethiopia.
Pope Francis said he is particularly happy that Humanitarian Borders is an ecumenical initiative supported by Catholics and Protestants alike. Pope Francis cited by name the contributions of the Federation of Italian Protestant Churches, the Roman Catholic lay community of Sant'Egidio, and the Waldensian and Methodist churches of Italy.
Speaking for my Waldensian and Methodist colleagues, I am certain that you, our sisters and brothers in Europe and the Americas, can imagine our happiness after getting the pope's support for Humanitarian Borders. We continue to rely on your support to making this experiment in Humanitarian Borders a 'best practice' that will hopefully be repeated in many places across Europe and the world.
Paolo Naso is well known to many in the American Waldensian Society and in the North American churches. Paolo Naso participated in Saturday's meeting with the pope.