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Baltimore Faith Leaders Meet With Pope Francis

ROME, Italy (WJZ) -- Blessings for Baltimore from the Vatican.

Pope Francis prayed for our city with a group of local religious leaders who traveled to Rome.

The extraordinary meeting is part of a spiritual journey to help Baltimore heal and recover nearly a year after the April riots.

Under the morning sun in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Pope Francis prayed for and then greeted members of the interfaith delegation from Baltimore.

Pope Francis speaks in Rome. Photo Courtesy; Catholic Review

Led by Archbishop William Lori, his Holiness visited briefly with the Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders -- who later spoke to WJZ from Rome about the experience.

"He looks us in the eye, takes us by the hand and you just feel for that moment for the Pope -- you are the only person in the world," Lori said.

Archbishop Lori and the delegation say their pilgrimage to Rome was designed to further solidify  their partnerships.

They've been working closely since the April riots to help their communities heal through education and social services.

"For him to be concerned as we move to the one year anniversary of the Freddie Gray incident and reaction to that," Reverend Frank Reid said. "The Holy Father encouraged us, he also empowered us."

The group also visited U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Ken Hackett, who is the former head of Baltimore-based Catholic Relief Services.

The group of religious leaders, including Rabbi Stephen Fink, Imam Earl El-Amin, the Reverend Alvin Hathaway and others, returns to Baltimore tomorrow.


The Rev. Wolfgang Herz-Lane, bishop of the Delaware Maryland Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Imam Earl El-Amin, Muslim Community Cultural Center of Baltimore; Father Donald Sterling, pastor, New All Saints Parish; the Rev. Dr. Frank M. Reid III, senior pastor, Bethel A.M.E. Church; and the Rev. Al Hathaway, pastor, Union Baptist Church. Photo Courtesy: Catholic Review
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