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Pope attends 300,000-strong rally for Catholic schools

Published on May 11, 2014 6:35 AM
Pope Francis kisses a child as he arrives for an audience with Catholic schools at St Peter's square at the Vatican on May 10, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

VATICAN CITY (AFP) - Pope Francis on Saturday attended a giant rally for children and teachers from Italy’s Catholic schools, with the Vatican saying that 300,000 people turned out for the event in and around St Peter’s Square.

Excited children threw baseball caps, kerchiefs and even a paper plane at the 77-year-old Argentine pontiff as he toured the Vatican piazza and the avenue leading to St Peter’s Basilica on his white “popemobile”.

“This is not a lament, it’s a celebration for education! We know there are problems and things that don’t work but you are here, we are here because we love school,” the pontiff told the crowd.

Francis also shared a memory about his first teacher, adding: “We love school because it is synonymous with openness to reality, or at least it should be”.

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