In his packed 5-day trip to Mexico, Pope Francis didn’t wait long to address one of the more controversial topics of his visit—immigration—calling it “the challenge of our age.”

In an address to a group of Mexican bishops, Francis expressed his appreciation for “everything you are doing” to confront this challenge, and urged them to team up with bishops from north of the border to offer ongoing pastoral care to those who leave their homeland.

“There are millions of sons and daughters of the Church who today live in the diaspora or who are in transit, journeying to the north in search of new opportunities,” Francis said. “Many of them have left behind their roots in order to brave the future, even in clandestine conditions which involve so many risks.”

“So many families are separated; and integration into a supposedly ‘promised land’ is not always as easy as some believe,” he said.

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