Pope Visits Rome Charity That Works for Peace in Africa, Aids Refugees

by: The Associated Press
/ (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia) /

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis is visiting a Catholic organization that has mediated peace accords in Africa and helps Syrian refugees to reach Italy safely.

Pope Francis delivers his message as he meets members of the Sant’Egidio community, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of its foundation, in Santa Maria in Trastevere basilica, in Rome, Sunday, March 11, 2018. Banner hanging at right reads from Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path.” (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Francis arrived Sunday afternoon at the Sant’Egidio Community in Rome, a short drive from the Vatican, and greeted well-wishers standing in heavy rain.  He then entered the ancient Santa Maria in Trastevere basilica, which the lay organization has used to shelter homeless people on cold nights.

In the early 1990s, the Sant’Egidio Community, which has an extensive network of volunteers, helped broker a peace deal to end fighting in Mozambique.

More recently, it has taken to heart the pope’s urging to assist refugees and arranged for airplane flights to bring Syria war refugees on “humanitarian corridors” to Italy.