Pope's poignant visit to Caritas Center

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Hundreds of people awaited the pope at the entrance to the Caritas Center in Rome.

Upon arriving, Pope Francis stopped to greet this woman.

Then he spent a moment in prayer inside the chapel.

He toured the most important parts of the Caritas Center, which aids people in need in Rome. He stopped in this room, where several people jumped at the opportunity to take selfies with the pope.

“Thank you, everyone, for the welcome. I am happy to be here. Thank you very much. Stay together by helping one another. This is good for the heart. When the heart stops, there is no life. The heart of friendship has to keep moving for there to be life. This is the sign of fraternity. Thank you for being here. Pray for me. May God bless all of you.”

As he walked to another section of the center, this missionary woman gave him letters from two girls. 

Then the pope met with Caritas volunteers. In the audience hall, a group of children welcomed him with this gift, a copy of the Gospel of St. John, written in ancient Ethiopian.

After listening to the volunteer's testimonies, the pope joked.

“Now it's my turn.”

Pope Francis was so moved by the work of the center, he deviated from his prepared speech.

“Vulnerability unites us. We are all vulnerable. Working in Caritas requires knowing this word. Coming and asking for help means saying, 'I am vulnerable.' One can offer help only from one's own vulnerability.”

The pope gave the example of Jesus becoming vulnerable, to the point that he had no place to be born. He became so vulnerable as to suffer persecution, to flee to another country and to experience poverty.

He also asked those present to include another word in their work.

“Craziness. This is the word I would like to share with you. The craziness of love, the craziness of helping, the craziness of sharing one's own vulnerability with the most vulnerable.”

Despite the cold, Pope Francis' smile filled the encounter with warmth. He even took the time to say goodbye to some of those present.

Daniel Díaz Vizzi
Translation: Claudia Torres

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