Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Nov. 2015 in Florence: Pope Francis & the Paris Tragedy

     It was a little over a week ago, although it seems an eternity given what happened in Paris immediately afterwards, that Pope Francis visited Florence.  Like a rock star, the Pope arrived in a helicopter which landed in nearby Prato, an industrial city where he publicly condemned the problem of thousands of illegal Chinese immigrants who are employed in textile factory sweatshops.  

     Another helicopter ride and he was in Florence, where he had lunch at the Caritas soup kitchen staffed by volunteers.  Pope Francis was served the simple, yet hearty, meal of the day given to the poor on the usual plastic plate, with plastic utensils. After an after-lunch siesta in the Curia headquarters, he visited the newly renovated, state-of-the art Cathedral museum and then went to the Florence stadium in the Popemobile.  Here Sua Sanctità (as Italians call him) is in Piazza del Duomo, Florence's cathedral square, in the company of Cardinal Betori.

At the stadium he said, "I would like the Church not to rest easy but rather be anxious, in order to get close to the those whose are abandoned, forgotten and imperfect.  I would like the Church to have the face of a mother, who understands, accompanies and caresses.  I would like you to share the same dream of a Church just like this, to believe in it and be able to innovative in complete freedom."

  The aura of peace that Pope Francis left Florence (even traffic jams disappeared for a day) was shattered by the Friday the 13th massacre of innocent civilians in Paris clubs and restaurants.  But (who knows!) his words helped to inspire the gesture decided by Florence's city council pictured below:
the open-air copy of Michelangelo's David, that ultimate symbol of freedom wearing a black armband with the French flag draped at his feet.

  This strong message from David can be seen in front of city hall in front of 
Palazzo Vecchio, Piazza Signoria.

The photo of the Pope is by faithful Beautiful Florence blog photographer Cathleen Guerrero.
Reporting live from Beautiful Florence -- Rosanna

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