Greek church uses human, material resources to help shipwrecked migrants

Categories: Latest News

May 19, 2015

Franciscan Father John Luke Gregory, Santa Maria Parish priest and a native of Sheffeld, England, poses May 1 in front of the food pantry his parishioners stock for any needy people, including many refugees, who comes to the church's door in Rhodes, Greece. (CNS photo/Judith Sudilovsky) See MIGRANTS-RHODES and MIGRANTS-NUMBERS May 19, 2015.

Franciscan Father John Luke Gregory, Santa Maria Parish priest and a native of Sheffeld, England, poses May 1 in front of the food pantry his parishioners stock for any needy people, including many refugees, who comes to the church’s door in Rhodes, Greece. (CNS photo/Judith Sudilovsky)

RHODES, Greece (CNS) — When a wooden sailboat carrying some 100 refugees capsized in the crystal clear waters of this tiny paradise-like Greek island, local fisherman and the Greek coast guard immediately went to their rescue.

While only three drowned in the April incident, 30 had to be taken to the hospital, where Franciscan Father John Luke Gregory, Santa Maria Parish priest and a native of Sheffield, England, is often called on for help because of his knowledge of Arabic.

“The boat capsized and they panicked, the water is not as deep or as rough as (in other places) but if you can’t get to the coast and don’t know how to swim it can be dangerous,” said Father Gregory. “The traffickers do a very lucrative business. The numbers of refugees who are arriving here has grown enormously since I came here in 2004.”

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