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Rome Reports

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April: Papal trip to Cairo, Egypt

Pope Francis began April with a visit to the town of Carpi, which was hit by an earthquake in 2012. The Holy Father encouraged the residents to continue moving forward, despite troubles that exist.

POPE FRANCIS April 2, 2017
“Let us not be imprisoned by the temptation to be alone and disheartened, to feel sorry for ourselves for what happens to us.”

England then paid a visit to the pope through Prince Charles and Camilla. They gifted him homemade products from their personal residence, Highgrove Royal Gardens, to share with the homeless. 

Pope Francis also put his cries of solidarity into action following the attacks in London by meeting with four Imams from England and Cardinal Nichols. 

“What we should do to make the human nature better, it's the work of the ear, the work of listening. To listen to one another amongst us. To listen to one another without making any haste to give a response. To listen to the voice of a brother or a sister and think about it before we give a response. But the most important thing is the capacity to listen.”

The pope then entered into Holy Week by celebrating Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square. After the Mass, he prayed especially for those affected by the attacks in a Coptic church in Egypt, which happened during the Mass. 

POPE FRANCIS April 8, 2017
"We pray for the victims of the attack that took place today, this morning, in Cairo, in a Coptic church."

Later that week, he visited the Italian prison of Paliano and washed the feet of the prisoners present. 

The following day, on Good Friday, he presided over the Passion of Christ at St. Peter's Basilica and prayed while prostrate on the floor. This is traditionally done as a sign of penance and adoration of the Cross.Easter Sunday provided a stark contrast to these sober events, as St. Peter's Square was filled with pilgrims, ready to celebrate the resurrection.

Pope Francis had a couple local meetings before he left the country of Italy. First, he made a visit in Rome to the basilica of St. Bartholomew, dedicated to present-day martyrs. Then he also met with the participants of the Second International Forum of Catholic Action and spoke of the temptation of remaining silent and stuck in one's ways. 

POPE FRANCIS April 27, 2017
"There's a phrase that should never be used: 'It's always been done that way.' That phrase, let me tell you, is bad.”

Pope Francis then departed for his trip to Cairo, where he was received with honors by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. 

During these two days, he had a historic moment with Tawadros II, with whom he signed a joint declaration which recognizes that a person who wants to convert from one confession to another will not have to be re-baptized. 

He also met with Imam Ahmed Al-Tayeb, the leader of Al-Azhar University, which is the most important organization in Sunni Islam. 

POPE FRANCIS April 28, 2017
"Violence is the negation of every authentic religious expression. As religious leaders, we are called, therefore, to unmask the violence that masquerades as purported sanctity and is based more on the “absolutizing” of selfishness than on authentic openness to the Absolute." 

The pope then returned to Rome, after a three and a half hour flight, which ended his trip to Egypt and likewise, the month of April.