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Rome Reports

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The Pope's most moving and painful moment in Turkey: His meeting with refugees

One of the advantages of going to the Pope's general audience during the winter, is that the crowds aren't as big, which means one has a higher chance of actually greeting Pope Francis and maybe even chatting with him for a bit.  "You gave me Communion. Do you remember?â?  Even though it was cold and windy, one group made it a point to bring their humor and props to see the Pope. And he, took notice.  "The weather isn't that great. It's a bit gloomy. But you're brave and when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Let's move forward.â?  As part of his catechesis, the Pope talked about his trip to Turkey and the need for all governments to respect religious freedom.  POPE FRANCIS "I've expressed the need for Christians and Muslims to work together for solidarity, peace and a peaceful coexistence.â?  One of the most moving and also painful moments of the trip, he said, was his meeting with young refugees, who fled from the Islamic State. In Turkey alone there are over 1.5 million refugees.  POPE FRANCIS "My last meeting...it was beautiful, but also painful. That last meeting was with a group of young refugees. It was very important for me to meet with a group of refugees from the Middle East. It was also a way for me to express my personal closeness and that of the Church. It was a way to recognize Turkey hard work and their hospitality.â? Strengthening the ties between the Catholic and Orthodox Church was also a major theme of the visit. In fact, the Pope met with Patriarch Bartholomew several times throughout the trip.  Towards the end of his audience, the Pope encouraged Christians to prepare spiritually for Christmas.  JRB/KLH  CTV SV -BN up:PM #Papa