Currents News Staff
Music played as Pope Francis arrived in the largest neighborhood for the Roma ethnic community in Europe.
Some 350-thousand Roma people, commonly referred to as gypsies, live in Slovakia – many in poverty and often isolated from others.
The Holy Father called for integration and condemned the discrimination they face.
Earlier Pope Francis celebrated the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross – one of the most significant feast days in the Byzantine Rite.
During his homily he urged the faithful not to reduce the cross to an object of devotion or a political symbol, but to embrace its real meaning.
“Crucifixes are found all around us: on necks, in homes, in cars, in pockets. What good is this, unless we stop to look at the crucified Jesus and open our hearts to him, unless we let ourselves be struck by the wounds he bears for our sake,” said the Pope.