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Timothy Cardinal Dolan welcomes 2 refugee families at Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve - Daily News

The spirit of the Christmas season was upon the city as Timothy Cardinal Dolan welcomed two refugee families to New York at Midnight Mass in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Dolan asked worshipers at the church to open their hearts to two brothers, ages 17 and 19, from El Salvador. The siblings immigrated in 2014 to the U.S. to avoid gang violence and persecution. He also brought attention to a Muslim family from Ivory Coast. The family included a mother, father and their three children.

The father, who escaped to the United States from Ivory Coast, was granted political asylum in 2010. He was joined by his family in 2012 after scrounging enough money to pay for their flight and an apartment to live in.

Dolan said both families, who were aided by Catholic Charities, were in the church but he did not identify them.

Over a 1,000 victims of violence and abuse have been assisted by the Catholics Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, while settling in the Big Apple to find work, learn English and adjust to their surroundings, according to a release. Catholic Charities have assisted tens of thousands of children who fled Central America and were unaccompanied.