Francis celebrates Jubilee with Rotary Club
In his general audience at St. Peter's Square on April 30, 2016, Francis reserved 8,000 places for Rotary Club members from around the world who responded to his invitation to be part of the Year of Mercy, above.
Under the motto of "Helping refugees to start over," a series of talks were promoted in Rome by the Jesuit Refugee Service and Rotary Club, along with two U.N. organs: the United Nations Refugee Agency and United Nations World Food Program.
In his speech Pope Bergoglio stressed the need "to build a culture of peace, security and solidarity around the world." This message was viewed by members of the Rotary as coinciding with their own purpose and aims. Indeed, R. Asolan from India, commented: “His message about peace is about accepting. Rotary, which accepts all walks of life, can carry his message to all our clubs, therefore carrying his message to all our communities.”
Bergoglio shook hands with the heads of International Rotary who were in the VIP rows of the Square, as shown in the photos on this page. Later that evening, a group of Rotary Club leaders gathered for a banquet in the facilities of Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica, placed at their disposal by the Pope as a token of the his admiration for the association, last row below.
Although Rotary Club is not officially part of Freemasonry, it is a para-Masonic organization used by the latter as a fishing hole to catch new members.
The good relationship of Jorge Bergoglio with the Rotary goes back to the time when the then- Cardinal of Buenos Aires was elected an honorary member of this association in Argentine.
You may watch a video where the president of Rotary International, K.R. Ravindran of Sri Lanka, displays his enthusiasm for Francis and invites all Rotary members to travel to Rome for their Jubilee gathering. News reports by the Rotary on the event can be read here and here.