Caritas Rome provides accommodation through its shelters to poor and vulnerable individuals needing a place to sleep. Some people staying at the shelters have written the below letter to Pope Francis following Lenten reflections. The letter was presented to the Holy Father by the director of Caritas Rome, Msgr Enrico Feroci.

Your Holiness,

We are guests at Caritas shelters in Rome. Even though you have been Bishop of Rome for very little time, we feel a sense of respect and solidarity which makes us feel very close to you and gives us the impression that we’ve always known you.

The choice of your name and what you say in your speeches which we have reflected on during Lent show us daily the essence of the Christian faith: that God is love.

Our difficult situation allows us to know firsthand how important a gesture of solidarity can be and the comfort a hug or a handshake can bring. We also know the hurt caused by indifference and certain annoyed looks and attitudes.

When you were elected you asked us all to pray to the Lord to give you the strength to face the difficulties linked to your service. You can be sure that as we promised emeritus Pope Benedict XVI when he came to visit us at our hostel in February 2010, our prayers will always be with you. We will be beside you and we thank the Lord for having given us some like you.

Thank you for everything and for having given up a little time to read our message.

With fraternal affection and devotion

Guests at Caritas Rome shelters