Rome Newsroom, Nov 17, 2023 / 11:24 am
Pope Francis met with priests of Rome’s 17th prefecture — which sits on the eastern edge of the metropolitan area — in the Parish of Santa Maria Madre dell’Ospitalità in Villa Verde on Thursday evening to discuss pressing pastoral needs and material challenges.
The pope’s visit reflects his call to reach out to the “peripheries” of society, a theme that has been central to his pontificate. The 17th prefecture includes the neighborhoods of Rome’s fifth municipal district such as Tor Bella Monaca, Torre Angela, and Torre Gaia; it is one of the poorest areas of the city.
During the one-and-a-half-hour conversation, the pope took time to meet the 40 priests gathered there and to discuss the main pastoral needs of the parish and the prefecture, including “work, the sacraments, poverty, hospitality, assistance to socially weaker groups, [and] evangelization,” Vatican News reported.
Bishop Riccardo Lamba, auxiliary bishop of Rome’s eastern sector, said the meeting was characterized by “a very open, cordial, and familiar dialogue” and that the pope “encouraged everyone to continue with the good work they already do, to continue being among people, to continually propose the Gospel even if there are difficulties,” RomaSette reported.