ROME — Pope Francis made migrants the centerpiece of his Christmas blessing Wednesday, addressing the topic of immigration a remarkable three times in an 865-word message.

“May the newborn Lord bring light to the people of Africa, where persistent social and political situations often force individuals to migrate, depriving them of a home and family,” the pontiff said to the estimated 55,000 pilgrims and tourists gathered in Saint Peter’s Square.

Next, the pope declared that modern migration is the product of injustice and that migrants often find their efforts impeded by “walls of indifference.”

May the Son of God protect and sustain all those who, due to injustices “are forced to emigrate in the hope of a secure life,” he said in his Urbi et Orbi blessing.

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