Pope Francis has continued to show his support for the street paper movement and those living in poverty with a special message for the street paper network as it adapts to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
In the personal address, included in the Holy See’s daily bulletin today (27 April), the Holy Father expressed his solidarity with all those involved with street papers, especially their vendors. He acknowledged that many of those who sell street papers are “homeless, terribly marginalised, and unemployed”, and that “those most vulnerable, the invisible, those without an abode, are at risk of paying the highest price” as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to impact all facets of society.
Pope Francis ended his message with a rallying cry: “The pandemic has made your work difficult, but I am sure that the great network of street papers will come back stronger than ever. These days, turning our gaze to the poorest can help all of us to realise how much is actually happening to us, and what our circumstances really are.”
Read Pope Francis’ message in full below:
Maree Aldam, chief executive of the International Network of Street Papers, responded to the Pontiff’s message with gratitude.
She said: “The International Network of Street Papers is pleased to once again have the vocal support of Pope Francis, especially as the world’s most vulnerable and marginalised people face uncertain times ahead while society fights back against this pandemic.
“It is essential that world and community leaders of all stripes come together in solidarity to raise up those in poverty, and back the organisations – like street papers – that do such great work in helping those most in need.”
Pope Francis has been a long-time supporter of the work of street papers, and has been interviewed by INSP members on two previous occasions. In 2015, Marc, a vendor of Utrecht-based street paper Straatnieuws, alongside the publication’s editor Frank Dries, travelled to the Vatican to interview Pope Francis. In 2017, Stefano Lampertico, editor of Italian street paper Scarp de’ tenis, and Antonio Mininni, one of the magazine’s vendors, did the same. Both resulting interviews became the most republished street paper story of their respective years.
The Pope’s message comes at a time when street papers across the world are facing unprecedented circumstances, with many having paused print production and temporarily removed vendors from the streets on which they normally sell the publication. Street papers are constantly adapting in order to make sure that their vendors can continue to rely on them for an income while riding out the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Find out how to support your local street paper during the coronavirus crisis here.
INSP would like to thank its volunteer translators for their tireless work, especially Marta Anna Segit, Lisa Luginbuhl and Shanon Richardson, who ensured Pope Francis’ message was translated into three languages from the original Italian.
INSP members can download the Pope’s message for republication here.