| FLORENCE'S HOMELESS CELEBRATE JUBILEE IN VATICAN
Two Busloads Participate in Papal Audience
VATICAN CITY, (ZENIT.org).- Florence's homeless celebrated their Jubilee today by
participating in John Paul II's general audience, held Wednesday morning in St. Peter's Square.
110 persons represented the St. Proclus Association of the Homeless, founded in 1934 by
Giorgio La Pira (1904-1977), who was mayor of Florence (from 1950-56 and 1960-64), and
whose cause of beatification is underway. La Pira, a Third Order Dominican, was a Christian
Democratic deputy during the Constitutional Assembly, which followed the Second World War.
He referred to the homeless as his "ambassadors."
Dressed for the occasion, the Florentine homeless arrived in Rome in two buses. They had
reserved front row seats for the papal audience in St. Peter's Square, but arrived late, because
the police stopped them upon arrival in Rome. The young volunteers who came with them had
to pay $100 for each bus for permission to enter the city. At the end of the audience, John Paul
II gave the group a special greeting.
After the audience, the homeless crossed the threshold of the Holy Door of St. Peter's. The
Conceptionist religious from the Immaculate Institute, one of the most prestigious dermatological
centers in Italy, offered them lunch. It was a real banquet.
In the afternoon, the homeless attended a Jubilee Mass. After being offered an Easter
"Colomba" (a typical Italian cake in the form of a dove) and a drink, the homeless climbed onto
the buses that would take them back to their makeshift corners in Florence.