Pope Francis visits Blessed Laszlo home for blind children in Budapest

Pope Francis makes a private visit to the Blessed László Batthyány-Strattmann Institute, a centre for blind children and children with disabilities in Budapest, and thanks the Hungarian children for their songs and witness of life.

By Christopher Wells

Pope Francis began the second day of his Apostolic Journey to Hungary with a visit to the Blessed László Batthyány-Strattmann Catholic Social Institution, Kindergarten, Primary School, and Special Children’s Home for the Blind.

The Holy Father was welcomed to the Institute by its directory, György Inotay, who greeted the Pope with the Franciscan prayer for peace, which he read in Latin.

After a short tour of the facilities, Pope Francis attended a concert with works primarily by Hungarian composers. Following the concert, the Pope met with some of the children cared for in the home.

Pope Francis at the Blessed Laszlo Institute
Pope Francis at the Blessed Laszlo Institute

Embracing reality in all its forms

In brief off-the-cuff remarks, the Pope thanked the centre's director for beginning the event with the prayer associated with St. Francis, calling it "a program of life."

He said the saints always seek to embrace the reality of life around them and do something to improve the lives of others, without seeking to escape from reality.

"As we walk in our reality as it is, we need to strive ahead exactly in this reality, and this is the Gospel, pure and simple," said the Pope. "Jesus came to assume reality as it was and carry it forward."

He added that it would have been easier for Jesus to latch on to a simple ideology and proclaim it "without properly taking reality into account."

However, said the Pope, Jesus chose the path of reality, adding that this should be the goal of all Christians.

Pope Francis concluded his brief remarks by thanking the children for offering him a warm welcome to their home.

Pope Francis at the Blessed Laszlo Institute
Pope Francis at the Blessed Laszlo Institute

Charitable work of Blessed Laszlo Institute

The László Batthyány-Strattmann Institute, provides kindergarten and primary school education, as well as comprehensive care, for children with visual and motor disabilities.

Founded in 1982 by Sr Anna Fehér, with the help of Cardinal László Lékai, the Institute gives new hope and opportunities to visually impaired children and children with special educational needs, thanks to the presence of mental health professionals, modern educational and physiotherapeutic equipment, a swimming pool and a gymnasium.

It is named for Blessed László Batthyány-Strattmann, a Hungarian aristocrat who became known for as “the doctor of the poor.” Blessed László was beatified by St John Paul II in 2003.

The Institute has been run since 2016 by the organisation “Kolping,” also known as “KOSZISZ,” which is directed by the Hungarian Bishops' Conference.

Budapest, Visit with children

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29 April 2023, 09:11