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Pope Visit A Sign Of Inclusion For Slovakia’s Excluded Roma

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Pope Francis meets with young people at Lokomotiva Stadium in Košice, Slovakia, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. Francis first trip since undergoing intestinal surgery in July, marks the restart of his globetrotting papacy after a nearly two-year coronavirus hiatus. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

(AP) — Pope Francis is urging Slovakia’s Roma to integrate better into the mainstream as he meets with the country’s most socially excluded minority group, who have long suffered discrimination, marginalization and poverty. But Francis’ visit Tuesday to the Lunik IX settlement in Kosice brought home just how excluded the Roma are.

Police and soldiers lined tall fencing along the route into the neighborhood, preventing residents who hadn’t registered from accessing the small seating area for the event.

Still, the visit is one of the highlights of Francis’ four-day pilgrimage to Hungary and Slovakia. The trip is his first since undergoing intestinal surgery in July and the restart of his globetrotting papacy after a nearly two-year coronavirus hiatus.

 

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