24-June-2013 -- ZENIT.org News Agency |

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Pope Francis Meets with Participants of "Children's Train"

250 Children Travel to Vatican City In Pontifical Council for Culture Initiative

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY, June 24, 2013 (Zenit.org) - Pope Francis met with hundreds of children who participated in the "Children Train: A Journey Through Beauty", an event promoted by the Pontifical Council for Culture.

The event is part of a section of the Courtyard of the Gentiles, known as the Courtyard of the Children which is dedicated to transmitting universal values through education and formation. Over 250 children participated in the Children's Train which traveled on a special train, made available by the Railway Office, beginning in Milan and making two stops in Bologna and Florence. The highlight of the trip was the final stop at the Vatican Train Station where they were received by the Holy Father after the recitation of the Angelus in St. Peter's Square.

According to the Holy See Press Office, the train arrived first at the "Rome St. Peter's" station and from there was attached to a locomotive train which brought them into the Vatican train station which is used in very few occasions.

The children's ages ranged from between 6 to 10 years old and come from difficult experiences and social problems. The objective of the event gave children the opportunity to educate them through visual communication and art. Prior to arriving at the Vatican station, the Children's Train made several stops to various cathedrals in Milan, Bologna and Florence.

While the Holy Father's words were not made available as of yet, the Holy See stated that Pope Francis greeted the children and asked them questions about their journey for roughly 20 minutes.

Also present were Mauro Moretti, general director of the Railway Network of Italy and Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture. Cardinal Ravasi is also in charge of the Courtyard of the Gentiles, an initiative which aims to create a respectful dialogue between believers and nonbelievers.

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