Audience with the Pope of Roma in Europe
Vigil and delivery of a memory of Blessed Ceferino
June 11, 2011
Saturday, June 11 the Pope will receive in audience more than 1,500 Roma Sinti, Manuches, Kale, Travellers and Yenish from 20 European countries, Italy and many "camps" in Rome on the occasion of 75th anniversary of the martyrdom and 150 years since the birth of Blessed Zeffirino (Ceferino) Giménez Malla (1861-1936), gypsy martyr of the faith of Spanish origin.
The event was organized by the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, the Community of Sant'Egidio, the "Migrantes" Foundation of the Italian Episcopal Conference, and the Diocese of Rome.
The meeting renewed the Church's attention to this people: Paul VI met with them in Pomezia in 1965 and received them in 1975 in Castel Gandolfo. John Paul II, met several times various delegations and proclaimed Blessed the gypsy Ceferino in 1997. During the Great Jubilee of 2000 the Pope asked the Lord for forgiveness for the sins committed against Gypsies by children of the Church.
Among the testimonies, there will be the one of Ceija Stojka, Austrian romnì deported first to Auschwitz at age 9, then to Ravensbrück and Bergen-Belsen. Her family had more than 200 people and only six survived the war and extermination.
The audience of the European Roma by the Pope is a highly significant fact, from a cultural and social point of view as well as religious. It is also an historical fact: for the first time Roma and Sinti are received in this form at the Vatican. The audience bears witness that the Church loves the Roma, and that is committed to these populations to be recognized as a minority in Europe, with their rights and their duties. So the president of the Community of Sant'Egidio, Marco Impagliazzo, comments on the Pilgrimage and the hearing. "It is a significant event in a time when many episodes of antigitanism occurred in many European countries, while the path of integration is the only possible to live together in peace and security. The Community of Sant'Egidio, working for thirty years next to Roma and Sinti in Italy and Europe, is particularly happy that this opportunity once again demonstrates how the figure of the Pope appears as the common father of all peoples, even the poorest. "
On the afternoon of Saturday, June 11, 18.00, the Community of Sant'Egidio organized a prayer vigil at the Basilica of St. Bartholomew on Tiber Island. In the ceremony, a religious object of Blessed Ceferino will be delivered and placed on the altar of the martyrs of Spain.
After the vigil there will be a celebration in the square among the Roman citizens, Italians and Roma