Pope Begins Visit to Italy's Calabria Region

Francis’ First Stop Is Prison Visit

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Pope Francis has kicked off his visit to the Diocese of Cassano all’Jonio in the Calabrian province of Cosenza, with his first stop being a prison visit.

The Pope’s schedule for his day trip to Calabria, Italy’s southernmost region before the island of Sicily, includes a public Mass as well as visiting the incarcerated, ill, poor and elderly.

At 7:30 a.m. the Pope’s helicopter took off from the Vatican and landed at about 9 a.m. in Castrovillari in Calabria, where the Holy Father first visited the Rosetta Sisca penitentiary of Castrovillari.

Landing in the square next to the prison, the Pope was welcomed by Bishop Nunzio Galantino, bishop emeritus of the diocese and secretary general of the Italian Episcopal Conference, and by the mayor of the city, Domenico Lo Polito.

The Pope walked a few hundred yards to reach the prison where he would meet with detainees, prison staff, and their families.

On his way there, families, children, elderly, and various other participants welcomed the smiling Pontiff, who kissed babies, greeted and blessed many children, posed for “selfies,” and sipped the Argentinian beverage mate. Offering the Pope this tea from his native land has become a common occurence during Francis’ events and trips. 

Cameras were not allowed into the prison. As expected, the Holy Father’s remarks included off the cuff elements, rather than the originally prepared script.

Addressing the more than 200 detainees present, the Holy Father focused on the theme of forgiveness, saying “I too have my mistakes and I have to do penance.” He reminded them that God is always there, waiting for his people.


On Zenit’s Web page:

Full translation: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-s-discourse-to-detainees-in-rosetta-sisca-penitentiary-in-calabria

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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