Pope Francis greets staff of the "Osservatore di Strada" Pope Francis greets staff of the "Osservatore di Strada"  (VATICAN MEDIA Divisione Foto)

Pope Francis meets with editorial staff of Osservatore di Strada

Pope Francis meets with the editorial staff of the "Osservatore di Strada", a monthly publication of the Vatican Dicastery for Communication, which offers a platform for people living on the margins of society.

By Marina Tomarro

On Friday, the entire editorial staff of the Osservatore di Strada met with Pope Francis, along with several writers and artists who face hardship and contribute to the magazine.

Published by L’Osservatore Romano, the Osservatore di Strada features people living in poverty and makes them the protagonists of the monthly publication.

They include several homeless people who sleep rough near St. Peter’s Square.

Friendly encounter

According to Piero Di Domenicantonio, the magazine’s coordinator, the staff and writers thanked the Pope for his encouragement and his expressions of closeness to people in need.”

"At this special audience with the Pope,” he said, “we wanted not only the friends with whom we form the editorial staff, but also those writers, authors, and artists with whom we try to cultivate this culture of encounter, just as Pope Francis himself invites us to do. Great and small talents to give flavor to this newspaper.”

Also present at the audience were the director of the Osservatore Romano, Andrea Monda, and the prefect of the Dicastery for Communication, Paolo Ruffini.

The Pope did not give any speech, but preferred to meet and personally greet all the participants in the meeting.

“It was very beautiful,” continued Mr. Di Domenicantonio. “Each of us was able to approach him, greet him, and speak to him for a few minutes, but above all, we were able to tell him that we love him and that we pray for him.”

Group photo
Group photo

A caress for the Pope

This meeting will be reported in the February edition of the Osservatore di Strada, as the January issue has already been printed.

“We gifted the Pope the first copy of the January issue of our newspaper,” said Mr. Di Domenicantonio. “This is a special issue made in the form of a calendar that we chose to title “Our Caress”, because in a world that is suffocated by so much anger and fear, precisely the people who would have reason to be angrier instead wanted to launch a message of hope and kindness, which is represented by the caress that we exchanged today with Pope Francis.”

The publication seeks to tell similar stories throughout the year of situations that are thrilling, or sad, or even with a happy ending.

“Like that of two young newlyweds,” explained the coordinator. “They are Americans, and had been wandering around St. Peter's Square for years. Many knew them, and the man always carried a large crucifix in his arms as if it were a child. After many years spent on the street, they finally returned to the United States where they rejoined their family of origin, to start a new life journey. But there are many stories, some we haven't told yet. Some people also tell me how sometimes others try to shoo them away in a dismissive and offensive manner. This really pains us, because poverty is scary.”

Appointment at the Opera Theater

The Osservatore di Strada is distributed for free on Sundays during Pope Francis' Angelus, but on the New Year’s Day holiday of 1 January, the friends of the editorial staff will also be present at the Opera Theater of Rome, where a free event open to all will take place in the afternoon.

“We will also be there with some guests from various facilities of Rome to welcome the public,” explained Mr. Di Domenicantonio. “We will talk about our experience with the Osservatore di Strada, and those who wish can also talk about their own story. It will be a way to start the year together in fraternity, as Pope Francis teaches us.”

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29 December 2023, 17:35