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Baltimore Religious Leaders Head To Vatican To Meet Pope Francis

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Following the Freddie Gray riots, several Baltimore religious leaders from all faiths vowed to bring hope and healing to the city. Their quest continues with a trip to the Vatican to pray with Pope Francis. The group leaves this week.

Gigi Barnett has more.

“My first reaction was wow!” said Reverend Frank Reid.

Just 10 days ago, Reid—who pastors Bethel AME Church in the city—says he got an invitation he couldn’t refuse: a chance to meet Pope Francis at the Vatican. The Holy Father wants to pray for and bless Baltimore.

“It is an encouragement that he sees something in our city and our people and I hope we see it,” Reid said.

The appeal came from Reid’s friend, Catholic Archbishop William Lori, who visited Bethel AME back in November.

Both men are on a quest to bring hope and healing to the city after the Freddie Gray riots.

“One of the messages that the Pope is trying to send is that making your city, your church, a better place is based upon the choices that you make,” Reid said.

Lori is taking a small interfaith group on what he’s calling a pilgrimage to Rome. Seven other religious leaders are expected, including Rabbi Steven Fink and Imam Earl el-Amin.

Getting an audience with the Pope is just one step of many to bring peace after the protests.

“The soul of Baltimore was damaged heavily, yes it was,” said Imam Earl El-Amin. “In order to bring that soul back to its vibrancy, I think it’s going to take all of us in the faith traditions to come together.”

After a tour of the Vatican and prayer with the Pope, the group arrives back in Baltimore on Thursday.

The interfaith group leaves for Rome Monday. They will meet Pope Francis on Wednesday.

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