11 Sep 2017

Pope in Columbia

Rome Reports September 10, 2017

From Cartagena, Pope Francis denounces human trafficking

Cartagena received the pope with open arms. Pope Francis' first stop was in the San Francisco neighbourhood, which is known as the historically poor belt of the city.

There, he blessed the first stones of two houses without roofs belonging to the Talitha Kum and Misión María Revive organisation. Later, he climbed into the popemobile to visit Lorenza, a 77-year-old woman who hands out more than 100 daily snacks to poor children in the area.

However, the journey was not free of incidents, and Pope Francis hit his face against the popemobile as he greeted thousands of people who enthusiastically followed him.

The hit, although it was not severe, did leave a mark, and that's how the pope showed up at Lorenza's house.

After, in front of the church of St. Peter Claver, Pope Francis prayed the Angelus prayer with hundreds of people. The memory of the Spanish Jesuit defender of slave rights brought to light, once again, the topic of human trafficking. The pope reminded that this is “a scourge” that still continues today.

POPE FRANCIS: "Still to this day, in Colombia and in the world, millions of people are sold as slaves, or beg for a bit of humanity, a moment of affection; they set sail or set out on the journey because they have lost everything, starting with their dignity and their own rights."

From Cartagena, the pope also had words for all of Latin America, and specifically for the neighbouring Venezuela.

POPE FRANCIS: "Beloved brothers and sisters, from this place I want to assure you of my prayer for each one of the Latin American countries, and especially for the neighboring Venezuela. I express my closeness to each one of the sons and daughters of that beloved nation, as well as those who have found refuge on this Colombian soil."

Later, Pope Francis entered the shrine and prayed for a few moments, in silence, before the relics of the Jesuit saint known as the "slave of the slaves," St Peter Claver.

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