Throughout the month of July, the Pope has canceled all public appearances and meetings but for this group of 200 poor, sick and disabled pilgrims, the Vatican had its doors wide open.
They come from France and belong to the ATD Fourth World, founded by Father Joseph Wresinski in 1957.
Pope Francis heard some of their testimonies and then told them that they are at the heart and treasure of the Church.
"Dear friends, I am very happy to be with you. Your presence is important to me, and it is also important that you can feel at home here.”
He said that the Church must reach out to all of those who experience abandonment and rejection because Christ has always given them priority in his life.
He also asked them to pray for those that cause poverty and, especially, for those who can help but choose to look the other way and live only for their own welfare and their position of power.
Toward the end, he took his time and greeted everyone present one-by-one, showing continuous gestures of affection.