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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Checking in with the guests

The Holy Father had lunch today at Casa Santa Marta with a group of 21 Syrian refugees now living in Rome, currently hosted by the Community of Sant'Egidio. These are the families that arrived in Italy after the visit of Pope Francis to the island of Lesbos in Greece. The first group of refugees arrived aboard the Pope's flight on April 16; the second arrived in mid-June.

Both adults and children had an opportunity to speak with Pope Francis about the beginning of their lives in Italy. The children presented the Holy Father with a collection of their drawings, and the Pope presented them with toys and other gifts.

The Holy Father and his Syrian guests were joined by the Substitute of the Secretariat of State, Archbishop Angelo Becciù, Professor Andrea Riccardi, founder of the Community of Sant'Egidio and several other members of the community, Doctor Domenico Giani, Commander of the Vatican Gendarmerie and two gendarmes who assisted with the transfer of the families from Lesbos to Italy.
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