EUROPE/ROMANIA – Young missionaries flourish in the Greek-Catholic community of Roma children

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Bucharest – Several Roma children from the Greek-Catholic parish of Barbu Lautaru, dedicated to “Saint Andrew the Apostle” and to “Blessed Bishop Ioan Suciu”, visited by the Holy Father during his apostolic trip to Romania in 2019, have recently joined the Missionary childhood.
“It is a visit which is still very much alive in the memory of these little ones”, explains the vice parish priest, Father Ciprian Ioan Sucio. “The children speak about it in particular to the people who come to visit us, proudly showing the seat where the Pope sat”. In Barbu Lăutaru, the oldest Roma neighborhood in the city of Blaj, the Romanian United Church has, over time, carried out constant spiritual and social activities in favor of this community. In particular, the blessed martyr Bishop Ioan Suciu, to whom the church, consecrated in 2019 is named, played a central role in the spiritual accompaniment of the Roma. Born in Blaj, Ioan Suciu, known for his openness to the community, grew up with many Roma and, after completing his studies, dedicated part of his activity to supporting this community. Known as the “Bishop of Youth”, he carried out catechetical actions with young Roma, actions that he combined with his great passions. Many of him still remember his trips with young Roma, the football matches he played with them. “During the meetings, we take the opportunity to find out if they have problems at school or at home, because they are often discriminated against at school. We try to encourage them, to train them in the spirit of love and forgiveness and to spend days of fun and games with them”.
Pope Francis said to those children during his visit to their community: “Your faces will color my memories and fulfill my prayer”. Those words remained engraved in their memory, so much so that they were used in a card sent to the Pope to thank him for the apostolic blessings given to them on the occasion of their first communion last June. “The children now want to visit the Pope as he visited them!”, concludes Father Suciu.