Photo: A homeless woman sits with her belongings as she waits for a friend leaving the Vatican following a March 26 visit. While enjoying a private visit to the Sistine Chapel, homeless people were surprised by a visit from Pope Francis. (CNS photo/Max Rossi, Reuters)


VATICAN (VIS)  Pope Francis went to the Sistine Chapel March 26th to greet 150 homeless persons who had been invited to visit the Vatican Museums through an initiative of the Office of Papal Charities. After shaking hands with those he met, he addressed the group saying: “Welcome. This is the house of all; this is your house. The doors are always open to all.”

Later, he thanked Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, Papal Almoner, for having organized the visit, which he called a “small kindness” for the guests. The Pope added: “Pray for me. I need the prayers of people like you. May the Lord protect you, accompany you on your life’s path, and make you feel the Father’s tender love.” He then greeted each person present and chatted with them for about 20 minutes.

After the visit, the guests were invited to dinner at the Vatican Museums restaurant and they left Vatican City through the Sant’Uffizio Gate.

The Vatican press office said Pope Francis asked that no cameras be present during his meeting with the group.