Pope Francis donated an undisclosed amount to a Italian association that runs and maintains a Roman beach for disabled people. Photo courtesy of UNITALSI [http://bit.ly/2oIj1rQ]

Pope makes donation to handicapped-accessible beach project

By  Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service
  • April 25, 2017

VATICAN CITY – An Italian association that runs and maintains a Roman beach for disabled people received an unexpected donation from Pope Francis.

In an April 25 statement, the "Work of Love," a charitable association dedicated to St. Aloysius Gonzaga, expressed their "enthusiasm and astonishment" upon receiving a contribution made in the pope's name by Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner.

The association runs "La Madonnina" beach near Fiumicino, located 17 miles southwest of Rome, that is specially designed for disabled people and equipped with walkways for easy access in and around the area.

According to the association's website, volunteers and medical personnel from the Italian Paralympic Swimming Federation are on hand to ensure a "safe and enjoyable" experience for visitors.

The "Work of Love" association said the donation was accompanied by a message from the pope who "imparted his blessing to the volunteers and in a special way to the disabled people and their families" who visit the beach.

"The idea behind (this project) is not of creating a 'ghetto' settlement, but rather a beach without architectural and mental barriers, where everyone can enjoy the sea together with its many benefits," the association said.

The undisclosed amount donated by Pope Francis, the statement added, "covers the rent costs for the year for 'La Madonnina' beach."

pope handicapped beach web(Photo courtesy of UNITALSI)

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