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Rome Reports

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September 2014: Pope Francis Meets with Martyrs of Albania and with Benedict XVI

The month of September started off with a meeting between the Pope and his favorite soccer players. He met the players who took part in an Interreligious Soccer Match for Peace at Rome's Olympic Stadium.  September 1st "People, especially young people, look up to you with admiration for your athletic abilities. It is important to set a good example, on the field and  off the field.â? The soccer match coincided with the launch of Scholas.Social,' an education project backed by the Pope. It included a lively video chat between the Pope and students from around the world. One of the students had an interesting way of posing his question.  CHRISTIAN  "I'll ask you some questions. Don't get nervous.â? Pope Francis made a brief yet meaningful one-day Apostolic Visit to Albania on September 21st.  Christians suffered terribly during the Communist persecutions in the country. After listening to the experience of a priest who worked in a concentration camp and a nun forced into hiding, the Pope could not contain his emotion. He also met with religious leaders in the country. Saying that the meeting proved that peaceful religious coexistence is possible, the Pope warned about the consequences of excluding God from society.  September 21st FRANCISCO "When, in the name of an ideology, there is an attempt to remove God from society, it ends up adoring idols, and very soon men and women lose their way, their dignity is trampled and their rights violated.â? Throughout his pontificate, the Pope has focused on the plight of the elderly who are, many times, forgotten and abandoned. For this reason, a Day for the Elderly and Grandparents was held in St. Peter's Square. The meeting saw the participation of a special guest: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.  September 28th  FRANCIS "I'm especially grateful for the presence of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. I have said many times I am so happy that he lives here at the Vatican because it is like having the wise grandfather at home. Thank you.â? All in all, Pope Francis spent the month of September as he does every month: taking every opportunity to be close to his flock. JAE RR -PR  Up: GRT