Pope meets with more than 5,000 Gyspies: 'Time to get rid of stereotypes'
It was 50 years ago, that Pope Paul VI visited a Gypsy community. To mark that anniversary, more than 5,000 Gypsies visited the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis.
They are known for their dancing, so it made sense that they started things off with a performance.
Of course, there was a lot of music as well.
The Pope also listened to their personal accounts. In fact, even this young woman, asked the Pope to Baptize her and her family.
"If you are free, it would make me very happy, if you could Baptize us.â?
The Pope started his speech with a Gypsy greeting.
"Dear Gypsy friends. May the Lord be with you.â?
Since Gypsies are often the targets of negative stereotypes, the Pope called for prejudice to stop.
"I would like your community to have a fresh start. A new chapter. It's time to erase secular stereotypes, per-conceived notions and mutual mistrust, that are often the base of discrimination, racism and xenophobia.â?
But along those same lines, he also called on them to not feed into the stereotypes. To avoid trickery and shenanigans.
"Dear friends, don't give the media or the public a reason for them to talk negatively about you. You are the protagonists of your present and your future.â?
The Pope encouraged them to be a positive influence in society and to follow the example of the first Gypsy blessed, Ceferino Gimenez Malla.
Before ending the audience, the Pope crowned an image of Baby Jesus and and an image of Our Lady with Gypsy features.