Pope Francis meets prisoners and artists in first visit to Venice


Pope Francis offered encouragement to prisoners, artists and young people in Venice on Sunday, with his first trip of the year testing his mobility and resilience after a number of health scares in recent months.

The 87-year-old pope travelled by helicopter, motorlaunch and golf buggy, hopping the city's famed canals on his first visit to Venice since he became pontiff in 2013.

He started the day by flying directly into a women's prison where the Vatican has set up a multimedia exhibition that is part of the Venice Biennale -- a prestigious international art show that has never been visited by a pope before.

Through a deal with the Italian Justice Ministry, the Vatican chose to stage its pavilion inside Venice’s women’s prison and invited inmates to work alongside the artists. Between them they created what is called “With My Eyes”, the multimedia exhibit open to the public.

Upon his arrival the Pope said: "Let us not forget that we all have mistakes to be forgiven for and wounds to heal, I too, and that we can all become healed who bring healing, forgiven who bring forgiveness, reborn who bring rebirth". 

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