Help the shipwrecked that arrive on our shores - pope

Francis also expresses support for Australia, Middle East

(ANSA) - Vatican City, January 8 - Pope Francis made a fresh appeal for people to welcome asylum seekers that arrive via sea in his first weekly general audience in the Vatican on Wednesday.
    The head of the Catholic Church also expressed support for Australia, which has been ravaged by unprecedented bush fires, and faithful from the conflict-hit Middle East. "May the Lord sustain us in our own trials and open our hearts to those who today experience shipwreck and arrive on our shores," the pope said during a lesson on Saint Paul' shipwreck in Malta. "May they find in us that fraternal love born of our saving encounter with Jesus Christ".
    He also asked the faithful to pray to God to help the Australian people "in this difficult time" and greeted Arabic-speaking pilgrims, especially those from Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and other parts of the Middle East. "In the saddest moments of our lives, in the most distressing, testing times, we must not be afraid to be bold like Paul was, because God watches over us and is always close to us," he said.