Pope Francis has urged Roman Catholics not to ignore the plight of millions of migrants “driven from their land”, during Christmas Eve Mass.
The pontiff compared them to Mary and Joseph, recounting the Biblical story of how they travelled from Nazareth to Bethlehem but found no place to stay.
He has made defence of migrants around the world a major theme of his papacy.
The Pope is set to give his traditional “Urbi et Orbi” (“to the city and to the world”) Christmas address on Monday.
“So many other footsteps are hidden in the footsteps of Joseph and Mary,” he told worshippers who gathered in St Peter’s Basilica on 24 December.
“We see the tracks of millions of persons who do not choose to go away but, driven from their land, leave behind their dear ones.”