Pope Francis tells children to embrace refugees, saying, 'Migrants are not a danger — they are in danger'

Pope Francis speaks as he holds a life vest during a meeting with youths at the Vatican on May 28, 2016. The life vest was used by a migrant who was found dead during a Mediterranean sea rescue.Reuters

Pope Francis recently met with about 400 school-age children in southern Italy and urged them to welcome and embrace the migrants who have been crossing into their country, saying they have nothing to fear from these foreign strangers.

The meeting was billed by Vatican officials as a "summit on the migrant emergency," Breitbart and WND report.

"Migrants are not a danger – they are in danger," the pope told the children. He then called on the children to repeat after and with him: "They are not a danger – they are in danger."

Pope Francis also invited the children to recite a Hail Mary prayer out loud with him, to honour the young refugees from war-torn countries who have died at sea while trying to reach more hospitable shores.

The pope showed the children the life jacket of a 6-year-old Syrian girl who drowned in her family's quest for freedom.

"[A rescue worker] brought me this life jacket and, crying, he said, 'Father, I failed. There was a girl in the waves, but I could not save her. All that was left was her life jacket'" Pope Francis said, waving the jacket to the children, ABC News reports.

Speaking to the children directly, the pope said, "I don't want to upset you. But you are brave and you know the truth. They are in danger, many children ... they are in danger. Think about this girl. What was her name? I don't know, a child without a name. Each of you must give her the name you want to. She is in heaven. She is watching over us."

Pope Francis also recalled the biblical story of the Good Samaritan, telling the children that they should be like the Good Samaritan by welcoming the migrants as if they are their brothers and sisters, according to Breitbart.

He suggested that people who don't take care of others with a welcoming attitude are guilty of hypocrisy.

The pope also pointed out that strangers aren't necessarily dangerous and bad, telling the children not to fear the migrants just because they have different skin colour. He said they and the migrants are children of the same Father.

The children who met the pope live in Calabria, a region of Italy that has seen as influx of migrants from Africa.