ROME – Pope Francis is visiting a Catholic organization that has mediated peace accords in Africa and helps Syrian refugees to reach Italy safely.
Francis arrived Sunday afternoon at the Sant'Egidio Community in Rome, a short drive from the Vatican, and greeted well-wishers standing in heavy rain. He then entered the ancient Santa Maria in Trastevere basilica, which the lay organization has used to shelter homeless people on cold nights.
In the early 1990s, the Sant'Egidio Community, which has an extensive network of volunteers, helped broker a peace deal to end fighting in Mozambique.
More recently, it has taken to heart the pope's urging to assist refugees and arranged for airplane flights to bring Syria war refugees on "humanitarian corridors" to Italy.