A blue and yellow tide swept St. Peter's Square on Saturday morning, as 30,000 Italian volunteers from the so-called "mercy groups” gathered to meet with Pope Francis.
They come from the oldest volunteer association in the world. It was founded in 1244 in Florence. Since then, they've helped the people in greatest need in Italy.
Pope Francis warned them about the risk of becoming "informed spectators” to world poverty, who in the end, don't do anything for others.
"When I listen to some of the conversations between people that know the statistics: 'Such inhumanity, father. Such inhumanity!' But what are you doing to solve this inhumanity? Nothing, I speak! And this doesn't solve anything.”
Pope Francis asked volunteers not to limit themselves to giving "verbal solutions” to "real-life” problems.
"We have heard so many words. But we need action, your action, a Christian witness, going to those who suffer, being close to them, just like Christ did.”
After his remarks, Pope Francis greeted several people with disabilities, who had attended the audience.
With this gathering, the Italian "mercy groups” celebrated the anniversary of their audience with John Paul II, on June 14, 1986.