Pope Francis visits Lampedusa on his first official visit outside Rome
Monday, July 08, 2013 - 00:42
June 8 - Pope Francis visits the Italian island of Lampedusa where hundreds of African migrants have arrived in rickety and dangerous boats. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
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Pope Francis laid a wreath in the port of Lampedusa on Monday in memory of the thousands of migrants from Africa who have died trying to reach the tiny Sicilian island in unsafe and overcrowded boats.
Francis' choice of Lampedusa for his first official trip outside Rome is highly symbolic for the new pontiff, who has placed the poor and dispossessed at the centre of his papacy and has urged the Church to return to its mission of serving them.
His trip comes at the start of summer when for the past two decades the island has seen a steady stream of migrant boats arriving on its shores.
Banner-waving islanders welcomed Francis at the port where he arrived aboard a coast guard vessel accompanied by a flotilla of fishing boats.
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