BY Dan McGinty | November 6 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

1-POPE-AND-STREET-PAPER-VENDOR

Pope interviewed by homeless man

Pope Francis brought the plight of the homeless to the fore as he invited a Dutch street newspaper vendor into his office at the Vatican.

The 51-year-old Dutch vendor, named Marc, sells the Straatnieuws in Utrecht, and was joined for his visit to the Pope’s office by two Vatican specialists – Stijn Fens and Jan-Willem Wits – who produced an article based on the special interview for the International Network of Street Papers.

The INSP was formed in Glasgow in 1994, and the Papal interview marked the 500th edition produced by the INSP News Service, with Pope Francis explaining his decision to welcomed Marc into his office, saying, “I want a world without poverty. We need to fight for that.”

The visit to the Pope’s office not only gave Marc a chance to bring the issues affecting the homeless to the Pope’s attention, but also to discover the Pope’s message to those living in poverty.

“It was so brilliant that he made the time for me and he thanked me for making such a long journey to meet with him,” he said. “He thought about my questions so calmly. He took me seriously, that was really great. He is such a kind, wise but also humorous man. We had a really good laugh!

Speaking of the importance of the support given to the network by Pope Francis, INSP Chief Executive Maree Aldam outlined not only the exciting opportunities it brings for individuals involved in the network but also the power it can give to the movement as a whole.

“We are delighted that Pope Francis has given this exclusive interview, which will feature in street papers around the world,” she said. “It was also a very exciting opportunity for Straatnieuws vendor Marc to travel to Rome to meet the Pope.
“This feature follows many street paper exclusives with other high profile leaders such as the Dalai Lama and Prince William, as well as prominent cultural figures. Around the world, and throughout public life, people recognise the power of the street paper movement. We are delighted that so many important individuals want to be involved with our network. “

The interview with the Pope will be carried in The Big Issue in the UK, and the publication’s editor Paul McNamee said, “We’re delighted to carry the British exclusive of this interview. It’s a significant interview for The Big Issue and for INSP. Also, as Christmas gets closer I hope this provides vendors with a springboard to sales.”

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