The Vatican Connects with Rotary to Encourage Peace

With the passing of Prince Philip and learning that he was an honorary Rotarian of four clubs with regular attendances at Rotary meetings, it was interesting to also learn about so many other famous Rotarians, Pope Francis being one.

On 30 April 2016, nearly 9,000 Rotarians from across the globe attended the Jubilee Audience at the Vatican in St. Peter’s Square at the invitation of Pope Francis.  

At the end of the Audience, a delegation of Rotary members - led by then-Rotary International President K.R. (Ravi) Ravindran - met Pope Francis where he emphasised the importance of vaccinations against polio and urged Rotary to continue. Pope Francis had personally vaccinated a child against polio in Mexico in February that same year.

“It is a tremendous honour to be part of this Jubilee Audience,” said Ravindran. “Pope Francis has inspired men and women throughout the world – regardless of their faith – with his humble acts of kindness. His call to alleviate the root causes of extreme poverty and human suffering transcends religion, age, nationalism and politics. Rotary members from every religion, nation and creed share Pope Francis’ spirit of mercy and compassion, which inspires us to act boldly to address the most difficult challenges facing our world today.”

Just prior to becoming Pope Francis, then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio accepted an honorary membership of the Rotary Club of Buenos Aires.

Pope Francis follows Pope Pius IV (who addressed Rotarians in Italy in 1970), Paul VI (who spoke at the 1979 Rotary International convention in Rome) and John Paul II (a Paul Harris Fellow) in connecting with Rotary to encourage their support of a more peaceful and compassionate world.