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Rome Reports

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Pope to refugee children: Don't let the past determine your lives, fight for what you want

The demands and concerns of thousands of Palestinians were written for the Pope to see, "Muslims and Christians live under occupation,â? or "Freedom to worship.â? Children from several refugee camps across the West Bank displayed the words during their audience with Pope Francis at the Dheisheh camp. REFUGEE CHILD "We are the children of Palestine. For 66 years are parents have suffered under occupation. We opened our eyes under this occupation.â? The Phoenix Center, the location for this audience, provides social services to many of these children and thousands of people living at the refugee camp.  After performing for the Pope, several children gave him several traditional Palestinian items and letters from the children. Pope Francis thanked them for the gifts and improvised a response to their signs, saying he understood their message. POPE FRANCIS "Never let the past determine your lives. Always look forward. Fight for what you want. But know that violence cannot be overcome with violence. Violence is overcome with peace; and peace comes with hard work, dignity and in moving your homeland forward.â? Before leaving the Phoenix Center, the Pope greeted several children individually and asked that they prayed for him. John Paul II visited the camp in 2000. He provided the funds to build the Center. The exact number of people living at Dheisheh is estimated between 10,000 and 13,000 people. There are another 18 camps in the West Bank, and 740,000 registered refugees. RCA CTV VM -PR Up:JMB