The pope visited Caritas’ “Citadel of Charity” to mark the 40th anniversary of Caritas Rome -- the charitable arm of the Diocese of Rome. He spent the evening with more than 220 participants in Caritas' charitable programs, among them refugees and single mothers.
The Citadel of Charity is a complex of charity centers including a homeless shelter, soup kitchen, dental clinic, and a “solidarity supermarket,” the first free supermarket in Italy. In total, Caritas runs 52 centers throughout the city of Rome.
Benedict XVI and St. John Paul II also visited Caritas centers in Rome during their pontificates.
“The Gospel must be announced with witness, not with arguments, proselytizing,” Pope Francis told the staff and volunteers of Caritas Rome.
“We cannot approach the poor at a distance. We must touch, touch the sores; they are the wounds of Jesus,” he said.
Courtney Mares is a Rome Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. A graduate of Harvard University, she has reported from news bureaus on three continents and was awarded the Gardner Fellowship for her work with North Korean refugees.
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