The following reflection by Fr. Dave Schwinghamer, MM was published in the November-December 2013 NewsNotes.
On July 1, over 300 Eritrean and Somali asylum-seekers drowned one half mile from the coast of Italy. When their fishing boat caught fire and sank near the island of Lampedusa they had travelled between 2,500-3,000 miles from their home countries in the Horn of Africa. The news of this tragedy moved Pope Francis to make a personal visit to Lampedusa to offer his sympathy and to show his solidarity to the survivors and to the Italians who pulled them from the Mediterranean Sea. In a short but moving homily during a mass for those who had drowned, Francis called attention to one of the major challenges of the 21st century: the growing indifference to human suffering that has arisen in part as a result of globalization.