Children of Italian Prisoners to Ride 'Children's Train,' Meet With Pope

Annual event is activity sponsored by Court of the Gentiles initiative

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The 3rd annual “Children’s Train: A Journey Through Beauty” is set to take place at the end of the month and this year, according to Vatican Radio, the Children’s Train will be filled with the sons and daughters of prisoners from Rome, Civitavecchia, Latina, Bari and Trani.

The Children’s Train event is part of the Court of the Gentiles, an initiative which aims to create a respectful dialogue between believers and non-believers.

Begun by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the Court of the Gentiles derives its name from the courtyard area of the Jewish temple where Jews and non-Jews could socialize and dialogue centuries ago.

Hundreds of children participated in last year’s “Children’s Train,” traveling on a special train made available by the Italian Railway Office, beginning in Milan and making two stops in Bologna and Florence. The highlight of the trip was the final stop at the Vatican Train Station where the children were received by the Holy Father after the recitation of the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square.

This year’s theme is “Volo” (Fly), a theme that Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, calls a “symbol of the possible transitions between the inside of the prison, where the mothers live and the outside where their children are.”

The children are expected to arrive at the Vatican at 10:40 am on May 30th and at 12:00pm, they will meet with Pope Francis. 

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Junno Arocho Esteves

Newark, New Jersey, USA Bachelor of Science degree in Diplomacy and International Relations.

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