#Pope Francis makes #Surprise visit to be with #Drug #Addicts for Year of Mercy
Pope Francis made a surprise visit to the Fr. Mario Picchi Italian Center for Solidarity in Marino, on Feb. 26, 2016. This is a rehabilitation center for those addicted to drugs and alcohol. This is part of his monthly works of mercy, on Fridays during the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
He spoke with the 60 guests receiving treatment.
The center, a nonprofit organization was founded by Fr. Picchi in 1979. He was accompanied by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization.
Mineo said the Pope “seemed at home” with both the workers and volunteers of the center, as well as with the patients themselves.
“He met at length with each one of them like a loving father listening to their stories and embracing them one by one,” Mineo said. Archbishop Fisichella said that “the deep emotion” of the visit touched everyone, and that the Pope “wanted to stay together with the youth, he listened to their stories and made each one of them feel his closeness.”
The Pope, he said, encouraged them “not to be devoured by the ‘metastasis’ of drugs and, embracing them, wanted to make understood how the path started in the community is a real chance” to start again with “a life worth living.” Last month, the Pope made a surprise visit to two different nursing homes in Rome.