Vatican Takes In More Syrian Refugees, Following Pope Francis' Lead

Pope Francis and the cardinal Vallini arrive for the opening of the Pastoral Congress of the Diocese of Rome, on June 16, 2016 at St John Lateran basilica in Rome.Alberto Pizzoli / AFP - Getty Images

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By The Associated Press

Following Pope Francis' lead, the Vatican has brought a second group of Syrian refugees to Rome.

The Vatican said Friday that nine refugees — including three children — were accompanied by Holy See security personnel on their trip from Athens Thursday. Two of the arrivals are Christians.

They had been living in Kara Tepe refugee camp after arriving on the Greek island of Lesbos by sea from Turkey.

Francis wants Europe to welcome the hundreds of thousands of migrants fleeing war, persecution and poverty who reached the continent from the Middle East, Asia and Africa, many aboard smugglers boats.

In April, the first group of Syrian refugees flew to Rome aboard Francis' plane, when he returned from visiting Lesbos. That group and the latest arrivals are receiving housing from a Catholic charity.