Pope Francis to Roma: Your nation deserves a new story
Yesterday Pope Francis received more than 5 000 Romani people from the Americas, Asia and Europe at the Vatican. The meeting was part of the International Pilgrimage of Gypsies, organized by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples from 23 to 26 October on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of a visit paid to Romani people in Pomezia, Italy, by Pope Paul VI.
"Two groups from the Czech Republic traveled to Rome independently of each other, one from Budyně nad Ohří, the other from the Český západ organization," Vojtěch Eliáš, a priest with the Archbisophric in Prague, told news server Romea.cz. A representative of the Papal Council told news server Vatican Insider that the meeting "aims to remind the gypsy people and the whole of the community of the Church’s openness with regards to those living on the margins of society, an openness that was particularly encouraged by Pope Montini 50 years ago. The idea is that the event becomes a 'meeting of cultures', an occasion to inform the world about the history and qualities of the gypsy people, who have often fallen victim to prejudice and hostility.”
"I hope that a new story will now begin to be written for your nation. There is a need to turn the page. It is high time to eradicate the centuries of existing prejudices and mutual distrust that are frequently the cause of discrimination, racism and xenophobia," the Pope told the Romani pilgrims yesterday.
He also urged them not to give the media the opportunity to report negative news about them and urged them to send their children to school. "It is well known that the insufficient education of your youth is their greatest barrier to their finding work. Your children have the right to go to school. Nobody can take that away from you," the Pope emphasized.
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