Pope Francis has paid a year’s rent on a private beach so people with disabilities could enjoy the sea and the sun as others do.
The Pope provided an undisclosed amount to La Madonnina, the charity organization that manages the program, to support the project, as confirmed by Monseigneur Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner.
The group have since 2012, rented a portion of the Little Madonna beach and outfitted it with items to make it accessible for the disabled. Boardwalks, ramps, and water vehicles were among the things provided to help people in wheelchairs and those with other issues enjoy the day at the beach.
In a statement on the group’s website, it said that it received the news of the donation with “enthusiasm and astonishment.” The priest in charge of the group, Rev. Massimo Consolaro, said hundreds of people with disabilities use the beach every year, and the numbers are rising.
The program is run by volunteers, including medical personnel and helpers from the Italian Paralympic Swimming Federation, who make sure participants are safe in the water.
Rev. Consolaro also adds that the beach is the only one in the region to provide personnel and facilities to support people with disabilities.
The news of the Pope’s act of kindness comes hot on the heels of his message to the people of Egypt on his impending visit to the country. Pope Francis on Tuesday, 25 April, sent a video message talking about his two-day visit to the country.
“Dear people of Egypt! Al Salamò Alaikum! Peace be with you! With a joyful and grateful heart I will come in a few days’ time to visit your dear homeland: cradle of civilization, gift of the Nile, land of sun and hospitality, where Patriarchs and Prophets lived and where God, Clement and Merciful, the One and Almighty, made His voice heard,” said the Pope.
“I am truly happy to come as a friend, as a messenger of peace and as a pilgrim to the Country that gave, more than two thousand years ago, refuge and hospitality to the Holy Family fleeing from the threats of King Herod.”
“I am honored to visit the land visited by the Holy Family! I greet you cordially and thank you for having invited me to visit Egypt, which you call “Umm il Dugna” / Mother of the Universe!”
The leader of the Catholic church said the world had been torn by blind violence, which has also afflicted the heart of Egyptians as he hoped his visit would help bring peace and inter-religious dialogue. The visit also follows the killing of 45 people in Coptic Christian churches in Alexandria and Tanta on Palm Sunday.
Pope Francis is scheduled to meet President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi; Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, the world’s most influential center of Sunni Islamic theology and learning; and Pope Tawadros II, head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, who escaped the Alexandria bombing.