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Monday, December 21, 2015

Francis praises the Italian Rail service for its solidarity with the poor

Vatican City, 19 December 2015 (VIS) - “The history of the Italian rail service (Ferrovie dello Stato shows its special attention to the poorest, with different initiatives of solidarity, both in the past and in the present”, said Pope Francis this morning, as he received in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall seven thousand employees in the sector. He also commemorated the workers who lost their lives during the construction of the country's rail network, expressing his hope that accidents of this type may never be repeated.

The initiatives of solidarity Francis mentioned include the Help Centres present in many Italian cities, which as well as offering help and advice to those who find themselves in difficulty, also function as “antennae”, which “enable us to grasp the signs of what is happening around us, to perceive the suffering of others, without remaining insensible to this. These centres are way in which the rail service contributes to keeping the country united, not only in a geographical sense, but also at a social level”. Another important initiative is the Termini Station hostel, dedicated to Don Luigi Di Liegro, founder of Caritas Roma, renovated by the Ferrovie dello Stato in collaboration with Caritas. A structure that welcomes hundreds of visitors on a daily basis, and which is preparing a day service to receive people seeking shelter.

“May the Holy Year, which began just a few days ago, teach us this, above all, and impress it in our mind and our heart that mercy is the first and truest medicine for humanity, that every one of us urgently needs. It flows continuously and in superabundance from God, but we must become able to give it in turn, so that each person can live fully his or her humanity. This is what is communicated to us by the Holy Doors, which are opened in all the dioceses of the world in these days. That of the Termini Station Hostel has become the Holy Door of Charity: those who pass through with love will find forgiveness and consolation, and will be driven to give and give themselves with greater generosity, for their salvation and that of their brothers. Let us allow ourselves to be renewed by passing through this spiritual door, so that it marks our inner life. Let us get involved in the Jubilee of Mercy, so as to renew the fabric of all our society, to make it fairer and more fraternal.

At the end of the audience the Bishop of Rome referred to the last monograph in the series “L'Italia del Treno”, a collection of photographs depicting the Pontiffs' journeys by train, and expressed his hope that “the esteem that links us, of which this day is a sign, may be strengthened during this Holy Year, so that Italy and all the countries of the world may become places of fraternal, more truly human networks, increasingly capable of rejoicing in God's love and mutual communion”.

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