"Let us think of the children who are suffering due to climate disasters, hunger, war, poverty". So Pope Francis yesterday in the Paul VI Hall 'occupied' by 7,000 cheerful children, among them also a large representation of the Schools of Peace of the Community of Sant'Egidio, who had come from various districts of Rome and from other cities. It was the main and longest event of the day at the Vatican: over three hours of entertainment, songs, speeches and testimonies during a meeting significantly themed 'Let's learn from boys and girls'. And, above all, more than an hour together with the Pope who addressed all those present using words that also closely concern the responsibilities of adults: "Children are a sign that reaches the heart of all of us adults, they are the voice of innocence that makes us think and forces us to ask ourselves: what are we doing with our world, our planet, our society? What future are we preparing for them?".
Then Pope Francis answered some questions from the youngest children of different continents. Some of the young participants arrived to Europe together with their families via the humanitarian corridors. The main focus was on war, the children's great desire for peace, the environment and the "custody of creation".
The children in the Schools of Peace prepared for the event with questions and also with drawings and essays, which have enriched the exhibition "Shall we make peace?! The children's voice on war', installed for the occasion in the Paul VI Hall.
"This event and this exhibition - commented the President of Sant'Egidio, Marco Impagliazzo - have been an opportunity to learn from the children because their voice says a very explicit 'no' to war. The young authors have experienced it first hand in Ukraine, in Syria, in Afghanistan, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in Burkina Faso, in northern Mozambique. Where our communities and schools of peace are. Yet we experienced a great moment of celebration around the Pope under the sign of peace, because it is great for so many peoples who suffer, beginning with the children, the desire to stop using weapons and for everyone to treat our world as a precious good to be protected and cherished'