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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis: Citizens and institutions must join forces against human trafficking

Children in this uniform lined the aisle through which Pope Francis entered the General Audience. The Holy Father signed autographs and spoke with many of them. 

After, the pope reminded in his catechesis that February 8 is the world day dedicated to prayer and reflection on human trafficking. He spoke of many emigrants who are unable to arrive through regular channels and entrust themselves to mafias who abuse them and treat them like slaves. 

“I urge everyone, citizens and institutions, to join forces to prevent human trafficking and guarantee protection and help for victims. Let us pray that the Lord touches trafficker's hearts. What an ugly word, human traffickers! May He give hope of recovering freedom to those who suffer this terrible harm.”

Later, Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the Mass and explained the Gospel reading's significance, which includes particular solemnity.

“In effect, only the ordained minister can read it and kiss the Book upon finishing; it must be heard while standing, and we make the sign of the cross on the forehead, the mouth and the chest. The congregation recognizes the presence of Christ, who gives them the good news of conversion and transformation.”

The pope also spoke of the homily, asking priests to prepare it well – through prayer and meditation on the Gospel – and to limit it to 10 minutes. 

“It's not only important for the preacher to carry out his ministry well, but those who listen should also seek to do so with the best internal disposition.”

Following the audience, artists from two circuses greeted the Holy Father and presented him with some of their best acrobatics.