Pope Francis visits Seraphic Institute in Assisi

(Vatican Radio) It was a moving scene this morning in the chapel of the Serafico Institute of Assisi, when Pope Francis warmly greeted a room full of children and young people with disabilities and their caregivers. The Pope approached each of the residents and held their hands, caressed their faces, signed the Cross on their foreheads and often kissed them on the cheek. One of the residents also kissed the Pope’s pectoral cross.

After words of welcome from the mayor of Assisi, Claudio Ricci, and the president of the Serafico Institute, Francesca Di Maolo, the Pope addressed the people gathered. He put aside his prepared message and, obviously inspired by his encounter, spoke off the cuff, comparing the scars of Christ to the suffering carried by the young people before him. “These scars (in the sick) need to be recognized and listened to,” he said. After the Resurrection, Jesus appeared to his Apostles, who recognized him by his scars.

Referring to the Eucharist in the tabernacle, he said: “Jesus chooses to be present there in the simplicity and meekness of the bread. And Jesus is hidden in these children, these young people.”
“A Christian adores Jesus, seeks Jesus, knows how to recognize the scars of Jesus. “When Jesus rose he was beautiful,” he continued. “He didn’t have his wounds on his body, but he wanted to keep the scars, and he brought them with him to heaven. The scars of Jesus are here, and they are in heaven before the Father. We care for the scars of Jesus here, and he from heaven shows us his scars and tells all of us, ‘I am waiting for you’.”

The Pope concluded by giving all of those present his blessing, which was followed by applause and shouts of “Long live the Pope!”

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