Pope Francis welcomes homeless men & women into Rome (VIDEO)

Tales of courage: We followed four poor, marginalized individuals as they make their way to the Vatican.

Pope Francis in Rome. Photo Courtesy of Fratello Association

At the end of the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis invited some guests to the Vatican who hadn’t been welcomed elsewhere for a very long time: the homeless, the poor, and the socially excluded. Among them were 80 individuals from Poland, who traveled across the whole of Europe to meet the Holy Father in Rome. And we were there with our camera to give you an exclusive peek into the wonders of their journey.

The film provides a fascinating insight into four individuals from Poland who, from the depths of despair, have managed to get themselves out of the worst. Having lost everything, including their families, they’ve lived in tunnels and train stations and they know what hell on Earth resembles; eating from trash cans and drinking themselves into a stupor to numb the pain they’re feeling.

Each protagonist has a dramatic story behind them, each different. But their fates became inextricably linked the moment they reached out to the Camillian Mission for Social Assistance where they got lucky. They were able to receive a helping hand, lift themselves up, resulting in the winding roads of their lives slowly starting to straighten out. They stopped drinking, found work, and started to have hope and faith. And it is this growing sense of faith that encouraged them to save money from their small incomes and use it to take this spiritual journey. They wanted to see the Pope and feel whole again.

Robert Świderski writes a letter that he will soon read aloud to Pope Francis—an honor bestowed on just two people in Europe.”

Thanks to the Holy Father’s invite and the Fratello 2016 Association, which organized this pilgrimage for the homeless with the aid of many others, these disadvantaged people seem to have found renewed meaning in their lives. In the film below, you’ll see their anticipation for the trip, and how they felt during the journey. We captured much of the preparations for the trip, and even witnessed some transformative moments. At one point, one of the men, Robert Świderski, writes and discusses a letter that he will soon read aloud to Pope Francis—an honor bestowed on just two people in Europe—and the raw emotion is beautiful: “It was one of the hardest tasks of my life,” he tells the group.

For those in the Church, this pilgrimage was a reminder that poverty is at the heart of the Homily. It was a realization that the Church should be humble and open to the poor. It is also a beautiful reminder to us all in the power of God’s love in providing strength and hope to those in need. For the poor and excluded, that love and acceptance may just help them change their lives.

Maciej Chlopicki
Maciej Chlopicki
Maciej is a director, journalist, producer, executive producer of many programs including documentaries, educational and even advertising films. He has worked for different television channels PolishTVP1, TVP2, TVN, austrian ORF, French-German ARTE among others. He takes a special interest in history, science and culture. He lives in Cracow, Poland with his wife and three children.

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