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Friday, August 12, 2016

Pope visits rescued prostitutes

As part of his Mercy Friday observations, the Holy Father visited the Pope John XXIII Community tonight at 5:00pm local time.  This Foundation was created by Father Oreste Benzi, to meet the needs of 20 women who have been rescued from slavery to prostitution.  Six of them are Romania, 4 from Albania, 7 from Nigeria and the other three from Tunisia, Italy and Ukraine.  The average age of the women is 30 years.  All of them have suffered serious physical abuse and now live in a protected environment.  Along with them, the Pope was greeted by the general manager of the Community, Giovanni Paolo Ramonda; the chaplain, Father Aldo; two street workers and the manager of the apartment that is located in the northern region of Rome.

Today's visit by Pope Francis is another appeal to human consciences to combat human trafficking, something that the Holy Father has repeatedly defined as a crime against humanity and a plague in the body of contemporary humanity, a wound in the flesh of Christ.

Today's visit is one of the Mercy Friday gestures already accomplished by the Pope during the Jubilee: in January, he visited a house for the elderly and a home for the sick in vegetative states in Tor Speccata; in February, he visited a community of drug addicts in Castelgandolfo; in March (on Holy Thursday) he visited a welcome centre for refugees (CARA) in Castelnuovo di Porto; in April, he visited with refugees and migrants on the Island of Lesbo; in May, he visited the Chicco community for people with serious mental disabilities in Ciampino; in June, he visited two Roman communities for elderly and suffering priests.On Friday, July 29, during his journey to Poland, the Pope spent his mercy Friday in silent prayer at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and also visited sick children at a paediatric hospital in Kraków before praying the Via Crucis with the youth gathered for the World Youth Day celebrations, including youth from Iraq, Syria and from other war-torn areas of the world and places where serious hardship is being endured.
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