Pope makes 'Mercy Friday' visit to home for children

IMAGE: CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano

By Cindy Wooden

ROME (CNS) — Continuing his monthly Year of Mercy visits to
people in particularly vulnerable situations, Pope Francis spent an afternoon
Oct. 14 at Rome’s SOS Children’s Village.

The village, which includes five houses, attempts to
provide a home-like atmosphere for children under the age of 12 whose parents cannot
care for them.

A maximum of six children and a house mother live in each of
the houses at the village.

According to the Vatican press office, “The boys and
girls, accompanied by staff from the center, showed the pope the village’s
green space, which has a mini-soccer field and a small playground. The children
showed the Holy Father their rooms and their toys, and he listened to their
stories and stayed for a snack with them.”

When Pope Francis announced the Year of Mercy, he said that
he would try each month in private to fulfill one of the works of mercy. Since
December, his Mercy Friday visits have included spending time with migrants,
the aged, at a recovery community for former drug addicts and at a shelter for
women rescued from human trafficking and prostitution. In September, he visited
the neonatal unit of a Rome hospital, then went to a hospice, spending time
with people who are dying and with their loved ones.

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