At a recent meeting of Catholic parishioners in the small town of Castelgomberto in northern Italy, a man got up and shouted "My grandfather built that place for priests, not for Muslims".

"It was a pretty stormy meeting," said Father Lucio Mozzo, pastor to six parishes in the area, who was trying to convince residents to allow a family of refugees to move into a disused vicarage in a nearby valley.

In an unprecedented gesture last Sunday, Pope Francis appealed to every Catholic parish, religious community and sanctuary in Europe to take in a family of refugees, saying he would set the example by hosting two families in parishes inside the Vatican.

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