President of Care Home Says Francis' Visit Reflects a Church That 'Wears an Apron'

Don Gnocchi Foundation Ministry Seen as Serving Frontier of the Weakest

Rome, (Zenit.org) | 705 hits

Pope Francis washed the feet of patients from the St. Mary of Providence Center this evening during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper.

The center is sponsored by the Don Gnocchi Foundation, founded 60 years ago, and today responsible for 39 centers in Italy as well as centers in Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Ecuador and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The president of the foundation, Monsignor Angelo Bazzari, told ZENIT this week that Francis’ visit would “fill [them] with pride and take [their] thoughts and hearts on high.”

It shows us “the care of a Church that wears an apron and washes the feet of those who evangelically are first,” he said. “For us this is a gift that the Pope gives our mission, embracing 60 years of history beginning with our founder, Don Carlo Gnocchi, up to our daily activity, the most commonplace, and the labor of daily living.”

Monsignor Bazzari reflected that Francis’ choice to visit a center for the elderly and disabled is a message to “invest in development and give a hand to hope.”

“The foundation has planted its post of solidarity in continuity with its history, in the frontier of the weakest, most vulnerable life,” he said.

He noted that the foundation collaborates with scientific research through its partnership with 28 Italian universities.

In Africa, the monsignor explained, the group works with “children born with malformations or who are devastated by drugs, or are child soldiers.”

[Reporting by Sergio Mora]