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Pontifical council’s ‘Courtyard of the Gentiles’ expands to include ‘Courtyard of Children’

Catholic World News - June 20, 2013

The Pontifical Council for Culture’s president has announced that the Courtyard of the Gentiles initiative, an outreach that promotes dialogue with nonbelievers, has expanded to include children.

As part of the “Courtyard of the Children” initiative, 450 children who have psychosocial problems or who otherwise have “difficult experiences of inclusion in society” are embarking on “The Children’s Train: A Journey through Beauty” on June 23. The children, who come from 12 nations, will be accompanied by 164 family members, educators, and volunteers as they travel from Milan to the Vatican, where Pope Francis will welcome them.

“I focused on the children, because I think that therein lies the root from which we must build a generation of young persons who still have ... the beauty of creativity—that doesn't seem old at the start—who aren't already discouraged the way we are but who are ready to live more the future that awaits them,” said Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi at a June 18 press conference. “Basically, religions have precisely this fundamental purpose: to teach how to come together, how to continuously declare the future, that is, hope.”

The children have already visited the cathedrals of Milan, Bologna, and Florence as well as the colonnades of St. Peter’s Square.

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