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The Pope visits a center for the mentally disabled and shares a snack with them

2016-05-16


This car holds Pope Francis. Last Friday he went to the community of the mentally handicapped, 'Il Chicco' in Ciampino, a few kilometers from Rome. It is a center of L'Arche Foundation, an institution for the disabled, founded by Jean Vanier and present in 30 countries.

This is another one of the Pope's works of mercy. Pope Francis spent an hour and a half with the 18 people living in this center, which is celebrating 35 years of serving the mentally ill this year.

The Pope greeted everyone.

-You two have the same name, he is Francis.
-Really?

Nadia, Salvatore, Vittorio, Paolo, Maria Grazia, Danilo, the Pope sat down to eat with all of them at the table. 

After the snack, it was time for gift-giving. The Pope received a cross and a ceramic candleholder that residents built in their workshop to display their capabilities.

If there was anyway he was still hungry, they also flattered him with fruit.

"They are grapefruits."
"Oh, they're great."

This caregiver explained that they lit a candle in his honor, as they do every time they receive a visitor.

The affection Pope Francis showed continued throughout his visit, even to the patio.

"Welcome, Francis. Welcome, Francis. You're welcome.”

The evening closed by praying together in the center's chapel.

The Pope's gesture is in line with his fight against the culture of rejection and is another act of mercy that he performs one Friday of each month during the Holy Year.

In January, he visited a nursing home for the elderly and patients in a vegetative state; in February, he traveled to a center with drug abusers; and in March, he convened with a shelter for refugees.

One of the most important times of the year occurred in April, when the Pope flew to the Greek island of Lesbos to visit the refugees. He took 12 of them in his plane back to Rome.


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