Sep 10, 2013 / 10:32 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Just two months after paying a visit to immigrants on the Italian island of Lampedusa, Pope Francis visited a group of refugees at a Jesuit-run center in Rome today.
He met at the Church of the Gesù with refugees seeking asylum in Rome, as well as volunteers who help provide them with food, health care, social support and legal aid.
At least 1,000 people gathered outside the Astalli Center, run by the Jesuit Refugee Service, to wait for Pope Francis, who arrived at 3:30 p.m. local time.
He met with Father Giovanni La Manna, president of the Astalli Center, as well as Cardinal Vicar of Rome Agostino Vallini and the Holy See’s press office director, Father Federico Lombardi.
“We are very pleased with this visit to the place where refugees live their every day life,” Fr. La Manna told Vatican Radio on Sept. 10.
“I believe that at this meeting personal experiences are the most important elements,” he explained, “and so everyone will have the opportunity to tell Pope Francis what they lived through upon their arrival to Rome.”
Fr. La Manna said he hoped the Pope’s visit would result in “a human and spiritual experience aimed at keeping alive the hope of more refugees of having a life of true peace and serenity.”
Along with other world efforts, he voiced a desire that this visit might “help restore peace in the countries of origin and, above all, keep alive the enthusiasm of being at the service of the poor and refugees.”
He stressed that the Pope’s visit to Lampedusa and his prayer vigil and fasting for Syria this past Saturday are not unrelated, but part of “a continuous process that aims to awaken the conscience of us all.” …
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