DR. PATRICIA MARTÍNEZ
Organizer, 'The Children's Train'
"This program was launched for children. It's for kids who have never had the opportunity to do these types of things, because of a difficult family or social situation. Really they face different types of social problems. We've been working on this initiative since the month of December, with different agencies that deal with children.”
With the 'Children's Train', or 'A journey Through Beauty' as it is also called, children between the ages of 6 and 12 will get a chance to share their experiences, see different cultures and places they have never had the change to see before. The event is part of the so-called 'Courtyard of Children' sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Culture.
CARD. GIANFRANCO RAVASI
President, Pontifical Council for Culture
"So children from three different cities will get on the train. Each of them will bring their own experience, be it didactic or cultural. A spiritual experience will also come into play, but really all the kids will come in with a very different background.”
The Pope is scheduled to received the children at the Vatican's Paul VI Hall. The high-speed train, will be borrowed from the Italian Rail Network. It will stop at the Vatican's own train station. However, it will have to be towed for the last part of the journey, since the world's smallest country has no power lines in its train tracks.
CEO, Italian Rail Network
"They will arrive in a high speed train, because the Vatican's train station is fairly limited, and it doesn't have the proper electrical system. Once it arrives to St. Peter's Square a diesel locomotive will push the train all the way to the Vatican's station.”
The initiative was warmly welcomed by the childcare centers that will take part. Before their arrival in Rome, the children will have visited cathedrals in other famous Italian cities, like Milan, Florence and Bologna. Activities in Rome have been overseen by the staff of the Bambino Gesú pediatric hospital. Organizers are hoping to spread the project on a worldwide basis, so that it can extend to different countries.
RCG / BB