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Rome Reports

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May 2016: Charlemagne Prize, George Clooney and the Lesbos lifejacket

The pope received one of the most prestigious awards in Europe, the Charlemagne Prize, at the Vatican. Before European political leaders, Pope Francis restated the message of John Paul II.   POPE FRANCIS "A Europe capable of giving birth to a new humanism based on three capacities: the capacity to integrate, the capacity for dialogue and the capacity to generate.â? That same day, May 6, there was one of the most unique ceremonies that can be seen in the Vatican: the new recruits of the Swiss Guard taking the oath of loyalty.   May 13 was the 35th anniversary of the attack on John Paul II. It is a very special date that will never be erased from the memory of all those who lived through it, especially those who were close to John Paul II at that moment.   LEONARDO PORZIA Nurse "We arrived at the operating room, I took off his clothes... because you cannot get in there dressed, so I had to undress him. In fact I covered him with a sheet, said goodbye to him and he thanked me. Since he did not lose consciousness in the ambulance, he prayed. He prayed the whole way." Pope Francis kept his monthly meeting during the Holy Year, called the "Friday of Mercy." On this occasion, he visited the community for the disabled "Il Chicco," a center belonging to the Ark movement, founded by Jean Vanier.   During a meeting with 900 women superiors of religious orders, he agreed to appoint a commission to study the role of deaconesses in the early Church.   Pope Francis also continued his gestures of solidarity with refugees. During a meeting with children, he showed them the lifejacket of a child. It was from a 6-year-old Syrian girl, who drowned trying to reach Europe.   There were other emotional encounters, like this one with Hebe de Bonafini, president of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo. The old Argentine activist asked forgiveness for the harsh criticism that was directed against him in the past.   HEBE DE BONAFINI President, Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo "When Bergoglio became Pope Francis, he grew even more. Now, I have expressed my apologies to him because I was wrong." The culmination of this month of May was the World Congress of the Scholas Occurrentes Pontifical Foundation. For the event, Hollywood stars like George Clooney, Richard Gere, Salma Hayek, plus athletes and famous YouTubers all traveled to the Vatican  The pope ended the Congress by promoting and enhancing education, as well as the dialogue and social commitment of young students from around the world.   JRB/MB RR -V -PR up:JD #Pope Francis