Roma people from Nitra went to Rome to meet Pope Francis with Malteser Aid Slovakia
Thirteen teenagers from Roma colony Orechov Dvor went to Rome with a group of ninety Romani people from Eastern Slovakia on the occasion of the International Romani Pilgrimage to Rome thanks to Malteser Aid Slovakia and with cooperation of the Special Ambassador of Order of Malta to Romani Minority Franz Salm- Reifferscheidt. With the Hungarian group, they arrived to Rome under the care of Mr. Tibor Ujlacký, who was also the group leader. During the pilgrimage, participants attended at Via Crucis held at Roman Colosseum and visited main Roman Basilicas including St. Peter´s, St. Paul´s outside the Walls, St. John´s in Lateran and Our Lady of Snow. Praying on kneels, they climbed the Holy Steps. Pilgrimage finished by Papal Audience where participants met Pope in person and gave him gifts – Book about spirituality in Slovakia and wooden replica of Nitra´s Castle. After that, they had the Closing Mass with Bernard Bober, Archbishop of Košice. The Mass was held at St. Peter´s Basilica. The history of the International Romani Pilgrimage to Rome has begun this year on the occasion of 50th Anniversary of the Meeting between blessed Pope Paul VI. and Nomad Romanis from Roman neighborhood of Pomezia. The Pilgrimage is organized by The Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants. Its main goal is to remind the openness of the Church towards Romani people and those who live in margins. The Pilgrimage is also an encounter between cultures and opportunity to point at Romani culture, its history and its values, which are very often targeted by prejudices. Malteser Aid Slovakia hopes that the participants will bring deep spiritual experience from the Pilgrimage to their homes and families and hopes that these experiences will serve as a basis of their lives.