Pope Francis invites Europe’s poor and homeless to the Vatican
Pope Francis on Friday (November 11) joined some 6,000 of Europe’s poor and homeless for a ceremony at the Vatican.
The invitation, made by the pontiff as Catholics celebrate the Holy Year of Mercy, was extended to people of all faiths.
The initiative was not seen as a way to convert individuals but rather to show people on the margins of society that they have a position in communities.
Francis took notes as he listened to speeches made by participants and addressed the gathering in his native Spanish without a pre-written speech.
“Never stop dreaming. What are the dreams of a poor or a homeless person? I don’t know. But dream!” the pope told the audience.
He also asked the poor and the marginalised to forgive the Church for the times it had ignored their plight.
“I ask you for forgiveness for all the times that Christians, when faced with a poor person or a poor situation, turn to look away. Forgive us,” he said.