The Holy Father sent a telegram to European bishops gathered in Spain this week for an international conference on immigration. In his message, he urged the Catholic leaders to work to give immigrants the "firm hope" that their rights be recognized.
The Pope's message was presented by Archbishop Antonio Maria Veglio to the 8th Congress on Immigration, convened by the Council of European Bishops' Conferences in Malaga, Spain on Tuesday.
In the letter written by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone on the Holy Father's behalf, the Pope greeted and thanked all those on hand for the conference, which is taking place under the theme "Overcoming Fears and Outlining Prospects" from April 27 to May 1.
Pope Benedict encouraged the bishops to continue in their efforts to offer "adequate pastoral attention to all those who suffer the consequences of having abandoned their homeland" or those who have no country to which they refer as their place of origin.
The Pope exhorted the participants to "coordinate initiatives and plans to ensure that the light of the Gospel reaches everyone and, with it, the firm hope to see recognition for their rights and a guarantee for their possibilities to live a life dignified in all aspects."
Cardinal Bertone closed by relating the Pope's prayers for the protection of the Virgin Mary over all conference attendees and the bestowal of His apostolic blessing.
Archbishop Veglio, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, gave an address to the conference on Wednesday in which he provided a theological perspective on the changes in Europe brought about by migration and mobility.
He reminded participants of the Church's role in contributing to to the edification of "a Europe with a more human face where human rights and the fundamental values of peace, justice, freedom, tolerance, participation and solidarity are protected."