Call for pastoral care for gypsies
Gypsies often consider the Church an institution for the majority in society, according to Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples undersecretary Fr Michael Blume.
Fr Blume was speaking at the 15th National Assembly of the Pastoral Care of Nomads, which took place earlier this month in Sao Paulo, Brazil, under the sponsorship of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazi.
"Some see gypsies as a small group requiring no special pastoral care which will eventually integrate with the masses of faithful," said Fr Blume, a Divine Word Missionary from the US. "As a result, few priests dedicate themselves full time to this pastoral work."
"Neither welcomed nor accepted, they live isolated in their camps on the outskirts of cities, forgotten in their needs, rights and dignity."
Fr Blume said part of the problem is that they are not part of a local Church due to their nomadism.
He affirmed certain "positive values" that characterise the gypsy world: hospitality, solidarity, strong attachment to the faith and the traditions of their ancestors. He said these values must be "given suitable revaluation in new pastoral programs".
Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People
Documents of the Holy See on Gypsies
Roma/Gypsies (World Wide Web virtual Library)
12 Jul 2002