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A family celebration  for the Pontiff

· Wednesday morning in a small room outside of Paul VI Hall ·

A small family celebration was was held for Pope Francis yesterday, Wednesday, 20 March, at the end of his meeting with the representatives of the Churches and Ecclesial Communities and of the different religions. In a small room adjacent to the Paul VI Hall a hundred Argentines waited for him. They were led by Archbishop José María Arancedo of Santa Fe de la Vera Cruz, President of the bishops' conference. The joyful voices of many children, the warmth of loved ones and friends, and gifts: these were all the elements of the party. The Holy Father graciously spent time with them, greeting each one with a hand shake or a hug. Among those who knew the Pope were also some members of International Catholic Action accompanied by Bishop Sigalini and various pastoral care representatives of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires.

Other Argentines present were Cardinal Sandri and Cardinal Karlic, Bishop Sanchez Sorondo and other representatives of the episcopate, including the Auxiliary and Pro-Vicar of Buenos Aires, Bishop  Eduardo  Horacio García. Numerous representatives of the college of Argentine priests in Rome, Argentine students of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy and priests of various dicasteries of the Holy See, including Mons. Guillermo Javier Karcher of the Secretariat of State, attended the meeting. Ambassador Juan Pablo Cafiero came with other staff members of the Argentine Embassy to the Holy See. Guillermo Olivieri brought a gift from Argentina for Pope Francis: the jersey of his favourite football team, San Lorenzo de Almagro.  The players, coaches and fans sent the shirt. The day of his election, the traditional symbols and even a photo of  Papa Francisco was printed in the middle of the official shirt.

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