@ Servizio Fotografico - L'Osservatore Romano

Pope Greeted by Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Widow of Judge Nisman

Francis also Blessed a Marble Statue Dedicated to Migrants of Lampedusa, Work of Artist Mauro Vaccai

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Also attending Pope Francis’ General Audience in Paul VI Hall today, were Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger and his girlfriend Heather Milligan. The actor was admitted to the “baciomano” (kissing the ring) with the Pontiff, to whom he gave a book on California, of which he was Governor. Then he expressed his gratitude for the green encyclical Laudato Si’ and the commitment to the environment. “Holiness, I will come back to see you,” said, when taking his leave, the actor remembered as The Terminator.
Present in the Vatican in addition to them was the widow and children of Alberto Nisman, the Argentine Judge found dead on January 18, 2015, probably killed because of an investigation he was conducting on the mystery of two anti-Jewish attacks that between 1992 and 1994 troubled Buenos Aires. After his death there was talk of “suicide,” a hypothesis totally excluded by his relatives.
Before the General Audience, Pope Francis blessed a large sculpture in white marble, The Open Door of Divine Mercy, by Mauro Vaccai, dedicated to the thousands of people who continually challenge the Mediterranean waters in search of a better future. L’Osservatore Romano explained that the work represents Christ who receives at Lampedusa the refugees and displaced rescued from the waters; it will be installed beside the harbor office of the island’s port. “Our heart is full of grief, because we rescue many people but, unfortunately, we lose some,” said to the Pope the General Commander of the corps of the port’s harbor office, Admiral Melone, explaining the efforts made and the great difficulties that rescuers must face daily. Francis thanked him, mentioning that he still has the lifebelt of an infant who died while trying to reach with her parents the beach of Lesbos. “I know well that you always put it on them. Thank you.”
Again before the Audience, the Pontiff paused in the room next to the Nervi Hall, to greet the 31 members of the Westminster Abbey Choir, which is participating in Rome with the Pontifical Sistine Chapel Choir in the celebrations of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. In the evening, the two musical formations are accompanying the celebration of Vespers presided over by the Pontiff in the Basilica of Saint Paul-Outside-the-Walls. The singers were accompanied by Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, together with Maestro James O’Donnell, the Anglican delegation of the Abbey and the Sistine’s Maestro, Monsignor Massimo Palombella. Bergoglio had a photo taken with the group.
On the subject of music, the Pope then greeted the young Bolivian musicians of the Bolivian Youth Orchestra “Hombres Nuevos” [New Men] of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, who performed in Paul VI Hall. These youngsters come from the poorest suburb of the city. This afternoon the young Bolivian musicians presented to the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, the Opera “Saint Ignatius of Loyola” by Domenico Zipoli under the direction of Ruben Dario Suarez Arana. On this occasion, they were rendering homage to Monsignor Nicolas Castellanos, Bishop Emeritus of Palencia, born in Spain, mentor of the project “Hombres Nuevos.” A project that is now 25 years old which concentrates on the recovery of youths in economic conditions of hardship, making them become talented artists.
Greeting the Pontiff, finally, was a group of students of the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey, in Switzerland. For these religious and lay youths, from different countries of the world, this meeting was very emotional, because “in the last years, thanks in fact to Pope Francis’ effort, the ecumenical dialogue is taking great steps forward. And in their daily studies, these youngsters find continually quoted addresses and teachings of the Pontiff,” explained one of the professors, Father Lawrence Iwuamadi.

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