As the children participating in the Vatican-sponsored summer camp are eating their breakfast at the Paul VI Hall, they had a pleasant surprise—Pope Francis!
In true Lolo Kiko fashion, the Pope walked to the hall alone from his residence at Casa Santa Marta. He visited each table and talked with the children. He also took a look at the play areas set up inside the Hall. (Read: Pope during Regina Coeli prayer: ‘Keep storytelling alive for young children’)
Fr. Franco Fontana, the chaplain overseeing the program, said that he had just left to make photocopies when he learned that the pope was going to the audience hall. Since Fr. Fontana had a car, he was able to welcome Pope Francis.
“The kids were so stunned they stayed completely silent,” he said.
In his visit, Pope Francis encouraged the children to make new friends. “People who only know how to have fun by themselves are selfish. You have to be together, with friends, to have a good time,” he said.
Lolo Kiko also greeted the people who manage the camp and posed for pictures with everyone before walking back to his residence. (Read: What adults can learn from children, according to Pope Francis)
Vatican Summer Camp
The Vatican Summer Camp is happening from July 6 to 31, 2020. It is taking place in the Vatican Gardens, the Vatican Heliport, and in the Paul VI Hall and is organized by the Salesians and a private association, Tutti in una Festa.
About 100 children of Vatican employees, ages 5 to 14, are participating in the camp. Lots of fun and educational activities are in store for them while safety protocols against COVID-19 are strictly observed.
At the Vatican Summer Camp, children get to enjoy various sports and activities like swimming, tennis, football, ping pong, and basketball. They will also have fun sliding down an inflatable slide! (Read: An Expert’s Tip to Instilling Faith in Young Children)
According to reports, Pope Francis wanted the summer program to bring joy to employees and their families—given the stress and anxiety brought about the global pandemic. He says the camp aims to give children the opportunity of “living their summer serenely.”