2015-02-09 08:36:00

Pope Francis makes a surprise visit to shantytown on outskirts of Rome

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday evening made a surprise visit to a shantytown, a few minutes before he celebrated Mass at the parish of San Michele Arcangelo in the eastern Roman district of Pietralata.


The settlement– called  “Campo Arcobaleno”[ Camp Rainbow] – is 300 metres from the parish church.

"He got out of the car and people were shocked when they saw him in front of their shacks," said Father Aristide Sana, the pastor of the parish who quickly traveled to the camp when he got word of the visit.

Pope Francis received a boisterous welcome.

“Viva la Papa!” the crowd shouted, engulfing the Pope, chanting and shaking his hand.  Pope Francis asked how many spoke Spanish, and the crowd shouted out “All of us!”

This was not quite true: Many of the residents are from Peru and Ecuador, but many others were from Eritrea, Ukraine, Russia, and other parts of the world.

The ten-minute visit ended with a recitation of the Our Father in Spanish.

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