At the conclusion of the Pope’s 34th Apostolic visit abroad, the day after the Pope met with members of Slovakia’s Roma community, Fr Maroš Peciar, a Salesian priest who works with local authorities in the Luník IX, where the Pope visited the Roma community, spoke to Lydia O’Kane about his experience following the visit.
Visit to the Roma community
Fr Peciar describes what he saw after the event had finished. While cleaning the areas where the pilgrims had been, he describes the unusual silence that surrounded them. “Usually music and voices go on until midnight, he notes, "or even much later”. Instead, Fr Peciar says that “the local inhabitants were unusually quiet”.
We saw that the people felt they were loved, said Fr Peciar, “they were very very happy”. Such a small “thing” he said, really made a difference.
The Pope in Slovakia
Speaking more generically of the Pope’s trip to Slovakia, Fr Peciar says he believes the Pope visited “just to make us stronger in light of our faith, because we see that a lot of different ideas are present in the life of the Church. Maybe we are not all courageous like pope Francis asks us to be”, he says.
The Pope underlined this in his final homily says Fr Peciar: “inviting us to walk on the street of life.. to be prophets of our time.. and to be rich in compassion”, and these three points, Fr Peciar stresses, “are how we can be stronger with our faith”.