Pope Francis on Thursday called for cities to open their arms to the needy in society – the poor, the marginalised and refugees.

"We live in cities that throw up skyscrapers and shopping centres and strike big real estate deals," Francis wrote in his prayer intentions for February.

But the same cities that boast these symbols of prosperity "abandon" entire areas to "marginal settlements on their periphery," he added.

Large sections of the urban population are jobless and face social exclusion and a bleak future, Francis stated.

"Don't abandon them.

"Pray with me for all those who are afflicted, especially the poor, refugees, and marginalised, that they may find welcome and comfort in our communities," he said.