God dreams of a world where all are welcomed as family, pope says

NICOSIA, Cyprus (CNS) -- Pope Francis told migrants that, like them, God dreams of a world where everyone recognizes each other as brothers and sisters.

God "asks us not to be content with a divided world, divided Christian communities, but to journey through history drawn by his own dream: the dream of a humanity freed of walls of division, freed of hostility, where there are no longer strangers, but only fellow citizens," he told migrants during an emotional ecumenical prayer service Dec. 3 in the Church of the Holy Cross in Nicosia.

Thamara da Silva, who came from Sri Lanka, told the pope: "Every day, I have to reduce everything that I may be, or hope to be, or want to become, into a check mark next to a box on a form. I have to use a word or two to explain myself to one of the few who might choose to ask or to acknowledge that I am even here. What do I say? Usually I must choose 'xenos,' 'foreigner.'"

"But what I want to scream is 'person,' 'sister,' 'friend,' 'believer,' 'neighbor,'" she said.

The Holy Cross church compound, which includes the Vatican nunciature and the offices of Caritas Cyprus, is on the U.N.-patrolled green line separating the largely Greek Cypriot southern two-thirds of the island from the predominantly Turkish Cypriot northern third.