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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis speaks to hundreds of homeless after his congressional speech

Shortly after speaking to some of the most powerful politicians in the United States, Pope Francis spent time with about 200 homeless people in the nation's capital. He offered a message of support and fraternity at St. Patrick's Catholic Church. POPE FRANCIS "A pleasure to meet you. Good morning...You are going to hear two sermons, one in Spanish and one in English.â? Pope Francis spoke in Spanish while a translator repeated him in English. To the surprise of the homeless people in the audience, the first thing the Pope did was thank them for being with him. POPE FRANCIS "The first word I wish to say to you is 'Thank you.' Thank you for welcoming me and for your efforts to make this meeting possible.â? St. Joseph was on the Pope's mind as he began the event. He said that Joseph faced difficult times, such as the birth of Jesus. He reminded them that Jesus was like them. POPE FRANCIS "The Son of God came into this world as a homeless person.  The Son of God knew what it was to start life without a roof over his head.â? Aware that people were watching the event on television and listening on the radio, Pope Francis briefly addressed the audience who was not physically present. He invited them to reflect on how it was possible for the wealthiest country in the world to accept the kind of poverty they saw in this parish. POPE FRANCIS "I want to be very clear. We can find no social or moral justification, no justification whatsoever, for lack of housing.â? As the event at the parish wrapped up, Pope Francis headed to the airport. His next stop: New York City, where he was received with music. AZ/JRB/ATO CTV S -BN Up:ATO