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Rome Reports

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This weekend, the pope meets with nearly 4,000 homeless people

This upcoming weekend the Vatican will host the last event of the Jubilee: three days dedicated to the homeless or those living on the street. As of now, almost 3,500 pilgrims from all over Europe have already registered. FRANí?OIS LE FORESTIER Organizer "For each of these pilgrims, especially for who have been homeless or who are homeless, traveling to Rome was a kind of achievement because they are full of fear, and it's huge for them. So they want to respond to the pope.â? Franí§ois Le Forestier is one organizer of the Jubilee for those facing social exclusion and for the associations that help take care of them. The pope will meet with the participants during at least two major events, a catechesis on Friday and a Mass in St. Peter's on Sunday. FRANí?OIS LE FORESTIER Organizador "I'm friends with many, many people who live on the streets, I'm not able to share my house with them, but I share time with them. And slowly, slowly we became friends... Those people do not only need food or health care and housing, they also need, maybe it's the most important, they need friendship, they need to not be alone.â? CARLO SANTORO Community of Sant'Egidio "It's worth pondering, 'What would happen to me if I were in their shoes? If I did not have a house, a bathroom, a bed tonight? If I had to sleep on the street, what would I do?' It translates into very concrete things: it means sleeping with one eye open and one eye closed, thinking that others could steal everything from you, that you do not have a bathroom, that you cannot trust anyone..." The Community of Sant'Egidio is one of the most experienced Catholic organizations in helping marginalized people. They succeed by establishing relationships based on real friendship, not welfare. CARLO SANTORO Community of Sant'Egidio "I often think that this wall of enmity for the poor must be torn down. We should all try to understand them, to think about them, to help them regain their dignity, because every human being has his or her own dignity." The papal meeting with the homeless will be the last great event before the closing of the Jubilee. It will be a global call to overcome indifference and a lesson on how the power of tenderness and mercy can restore dignity to people. JMB/MB AA FL - PR Up:MB