The Pope said that "I like it a lot when I see nations, governments, who open their hearts and open their doors" to the migrants and refugees seeking to enter.
Similarly, on Palm Sunday Francis said that when Christ suffered from the indifference of political leaders in being sent from Pilate to Herod and then back to the Roman governor, he was thinking in particular "of so many other people, so many marginalized people, so many asylum seekers, so many refugees."
"There are so many who don't want to take responsibility for their destiny."
He also offered special greetings to some 6,000 migrants and refugees during his Jan. 17 Angelus address, which fell on the World Day of Migrants and Refugees. The day was also celebrated as a special Jubilee of Migrants as part of Francis' larger Jubilee of Mercy.
In his address, the Pope told the migrants that "each one of you carries within yourself a story, a culture, of precious value; and often unfortunately experiences of misery, oppression and fear," and encouraged them not to give up in the face of difficulties.
During his Sept. 6, 2015 Angelus Francis made an appeal to all the parishes, to religious communities, to monasteries, and sanctuaries of all Europe to "to express the concreteness of the Gospel" and welcome a family of refugees.
The Vatican's two parishes – St. Anne's and St. Peter's – have already welcomed two refugee families.
The first family, housed by St. Anne's, consists of a father, mother and two children. Syrian Christians of Catholic Greek-Melkite Church, the family fled their war-torn city of Damascus and arrived to the Vatican Sept. 6, the same day as the Pope's appeal.
The second family, provided for by St. Peter's, is an Eritrean family, consisting of a mother and her five children who arrived earlier this year.
Updated March 23, 2016 at 10:57 am, MDT, to reflect further details of those whose feet the Pope will wash.
Elise Harris was senior Rome correspondent for CNA from 2012 to 2018.