Pope Francis met with the Italian Community of Capodarco, as they just celebrated their 50th anniversary as a non-profit organization who cares for those in severe hardship, especially the disabled.
The Founder of the community, Fr. Franco Monterubbianesi, and the current president, Fr. Vinicio
Albanesi told some personal stories they've experienced.
FR. VINICIO ALBANESI
"A girl once told me, 'You do not know what it's like to never be looked at because you have polio.' This is ugly. Instead, each person has his own dignity. His own humanity, his own soul, his own spirit.”
The pope was very moved and he listened and responded to their experiences and concerns with a spirit of gratitude.
"With you, I thank the Lord for the good carried out in these years at the service of disabled persons, minors, of all those who live in situations of dependence and of hardship, and of their families. You have chosen to be on the side of these less protected persons, to offer them hospitality,
support and hope, in a dynamic of sharing. In this way you have contributed and you contribute to make society better.”
Pope Francis thanked their volunteer approach, which considers the abilities of each person and then offers them a role in society, and a way to feel accepted.
"I encourage you to continue on this path, which brings personal action and direct participation of disabled people to the forefront. It is about promoting the dignity of and respect for each individual, enabling "life’s losers” to feel the tenderness of God, the loving Father of every creature.”
The pope then spent the next 30 minutes personally greeting many of the disabled and mentally handicapped who were in the meeting and had come to see him.
Currently, the Community of Capodarco is working in 14 cities and 11 regions in Italy.