Pope Francis was the speaker at an event for Italian Special Olympics athletes at Clementine Hall in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace. The Pope used the occasion of the audience to deliver an address on the theme of inclusion, telling the athletes:
“You are a symbol of a sport that opens the eyes and heart to the value and dignity of individuals and people who otherwise would be the object of prejudice and exclusion.”
Little Gemma Pompili is a Special Olympics athlete, sitting excitedly in the rows of seats set up for the occasion. “Papa!” she called out again and again. Pope Francis was charmed by her tenderness and invited her to sit beside him while he continued his speech, even holding her sweet little hand from the lectern. What a treat to see the Sovereign of the Vatican practicing what he preaches.