Pope Francis arrived in Assisi on Friday. He greeted sick and disabled people in the Italian hillside town where his namesake, Saint Francis, renounced a wealthy lifestyle to embrace a life of poverty and love of nature in the 12th century.
Pope Francis has brought a new style of openness and simplicity to the Vatican. A few days after his election, he said he wanted to see “a Church that is poor and for the poor”.
During the visit he spoke about the boat tragedy off the Italian island of Lampedusa.
“Nobody cares about the many people who have to escape from the slavery of hunger, to escape in the search for freedom and with such pain. How often do we see that they find death as happened in Lampedusa. Today is a day of tears,” he said.
The visit to Assisi comes after three days of meetings with eight Cardinals who the Pope called to serve as his advisory group on how to reform the Vatican government.
Pope Francis has shunned the spacious papal apartment for small quarters in a guest house. He has urged all members of the clergy to leave their comfortable palaces and get out among the poor and needy.