Vatican City, 31 January 2016 (VIS) – Following today's Marian prayer the Pope greeted all the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square and mentioned that today is World Leprosy Day. "This illness, although in regression, unfortunately still afflicts the poorest and most marginalised people. It is important to keep alive our solidarity with these brothers and sisters who are incapacitated by this disease. We assure them of our prayers and of our support to those who assist them. Well done to these laypeople, these nuns, these priests".
The Holy Father also dedicated some words to a group of young people from Catholic Action of the diocese of Rome, who have come to the end of their Caravan of Peace. He encouraged them to be instruments of peace and mercy among their peers, so that this year their "witness of peace, inspired by faith in Jesus, may be even more joyful and aware, enriched by the gesture of passing through the Holy Door". A group of young people read the Message aloud and released balloons in the square as a symbol of peace.