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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis surprises World Day of the Poor volunteers in St. Peter's Square


Shortly before 4 p.m., Pope Francis stopped his vehicle in St. Peter's Square.

“The welcome tent is here. The military has given it to us. The volunteers of Mercy are here.”

“These volunteers are good people.”

Monsignor Rino Fisichella accompanied him on this visit to the temporary hospital they have placed in the square for World Day of the Poor this Sunday. It's the first time this day is celebrated, at the request of the pope.

The volunteers responded with this applause, and Pope Francis greeted them one-by-one. They couldn't believe the pope himself was visiting them; neither could the tourists who were passing through the square. 

The pope went to the different units and greeted doctors and nurses. There were already some homeless people receiving various medical exams there. 

“Come, come. Greet the pope. He deliberately came to see you.”

Pope Francis spoke with them for a few moments, and this woman even gave him a letter she had written for him. 

More and more people arrived in the square once they found out the pope was there. Pope Francis ended his visit with this family photo. It was a sign of appreciation for everyone who made it possible for those on the periphery to be in the heart of the Eternal City, at least for a few days.