Pope welcomes the gypsies of Europe to the Vatican
By David Kerr

.- Pope Benedict XVI welcomed over 2,000 gypsies to the Vatican June 11. They are converging on Rome this weekend to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Bl. Zefirino Giménez Malla.

Known as “El Pelé,” Bl. Zefirino was a gypsy who gave his life to defend a priest during the Spanish Civil War. This year also marks the 75th anniversary of his martyrdom.

“Blessed Zefirino invites you to follow his example and shows you the way: the dedication to prayer and the Rosary in particular, love for the Eucharist and the other sacraments, the observance of the commandments, honesty, charity and generosity toward others, especially the poor,” the Pope told the pilgrims.

The delegation was drawn from 20 European countries and included seven different gypsy communities: the Roma, the Sinti, the Manouches, Kalé, Zingari, Yenish, Romanichals and Travellers.

During the audience several of the pilgrims told Pope Benedict of the persecution that gypsies had faced throughout the 20th century. This included the testimony of Austrian-born Ceija Stojka.

Stojka recalled how only six of her 200-strong family survived Nazi persecution during the Second World War. She herself, at only age nine, was deported to the Nazi camps at Auschwitz, then Ravensbrück and then to Bergen-Belsen.

“The European consciousness cannot forget all the pain,” the Pope said in response.“Never again will your people be subjected to harassment, rejection and contempt. For your part, always seek justice, the rule of law, reconciliation and try to never be the cause of another’s suffering.”

One of the key organizers of today’s event has been the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People. Its president, Archbishop Antonio Maria Vegliò, says the Church would like to remind society of its responsibility towards gypsies – and vice versa.

“As the Holy Father is keen to emphasize, the Church has the mission to be hospitable and to help Christians to overcome any feeling of mistrust, fear, or worse, rejection of the Gypsies,” he told Vatican Radio before the audience. 

“In addition, she advocates the authentic integration of this people and tries to help them integrate into the society, while maintaining their cultural identity. The Church shall not, then, cease to remind that they too are called to assume their proper responsibilities.”

He also noted the apostolic fruits that are emerging from this approach.

“For example, a few months ago the Holy Father nominated the first gypsy Bishop in India, and there are two vicars general, 25 priests and 30 religious nuns.” The Pope also noted this reality.

Pope Benedict concluded his remarks on June 11 by saying: “Trust and listen to these your brothers and sisters, and together they offer a consistent and joyful proclamation of God's love for the Gypsy people, like all people!”

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 23, 2014

Wednesday within the Octa ve of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 28:8-15


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Acts 3:1-10
Gospel:: Lk 24:13-35

Saint of the Day

St. Adalbert of Prague »


Homily of the Day

Mt 28:8-15


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: