At roughly 8:00 am, the Pope arrived to the Cathedral of the city of Prato. A small industrial town in northern Italy with a large immigrant population.
First, he greeted a group of sick and elderly people who were waiting at the entrance of the Cathedral. Then he stopped to venerate the relic of our Lady, that's kept in the Cathedral. It's a belt which according to tradition, was given to St. Thomas by Our Lady before Her Assumption into heaven.
After greeting the Bishop of Prato, Franco Agostinelli, the Pope delivered a speech where he harshly denounced work exploitation.
"For a disciple of Jesus, no neighbor can be a stranger. In fact, even those who are far can never be too distant. They are all near and one must reach out to them. I appreciate the continued work of your community and its efforts to integrate all people, for opposing the culture of indifference and disregard.”
In Prato there is a large Chinese community. Out of the town of about 190,000 people, roughly 40,000 are Chinese. The Pope talked about the tragic fire of 2013 where seven Chinese people died. They lived and worked in a factory where they were exploited.
"It's the tragedy of work exploitation and of living under inhumane conditions. It's not work that gives dignity. Every community must fight against the cancer of corruption, the cancer of human and work exploitation. Against the poison of that which is illegal.”
It's not the first time a Pope has visited the town of Prato. In 1986 Pope John Paul II also traveled to this Tuscan city.