AMERICA/ DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - Catholic street children, many of them in poor health, share the Pope’s suffering and pray for him every day

Friday, 4 March 2005

Santo Domingo (Fides Service) - "Since the Holy Father was admitted to hospital, former street children benefiting from a youth pastoral programme "Yo también” in the archdiocese of Santo Domingo, have prayed for him every day without fail", the national coordinator of youth pastoral in the Dominican Republic Fr Luis Rosario Peña told Fides .
The programme runs a centre for children and adolescents aged 7 to 17 who used to live on the streets and many of them as a result are in poor health Fr. Luis Rosario explained. “They know what it means to feel unwell and so they pray for the Pope on their own and especially during morning prayers at the Centre led by Salesian Sister Adriana Paulino. Next week the children will make their annual retreat and there will also be special prayers for the Pope. The children are concerned for the Holy Father and pray and hope he will be better soon”.
At the “Yo también” Centre street children are given a home, they go to school regularly and are returned to their family if possible or entrusted to a foster family or a college. Most of them are in poor health and suffer from trauma and serious psychological unbalance. The programme started almost nine years ago and has rehabilitated 800 street children helping them to start a normal life. (RG) (Agenzia Fides 4/3/2005; righe 18; parole 261)