Pope Francis is paying the rent on a private beach for the disabled

Pope Francis is paying the rent on a private beach for the disabled
(Images: Patriarch Kirill (L) - Patriarchia via Catholic News Agency; Pope Francis (R) - CNA)

Pope Francis is paying a year’s rent for a private beach near Rome so a charity can help people with disabilities enjoy the sea and sun, according to the group that manages the program.

The group Work of Love has rented a portion of the Little Madonna beach since 2012 and outfitted it with boardwalks, ramps and water vehicles to provide access to people in wheelchairs and those with other issues that make a day at the beach difficult.

Monseigneur Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, told CNN that Francis gave the charity an undisclosed sum to “support the project that helps disabled youth and in particular to cover the cost of the annual rent for the beach known as the Little Madonna.”

Work of Love said in a statement on its website it received the news of the donation with “enthusiasm and astonishment.”

The Rev. Massimo Consolaro, the priest in charge of the group, told CNN that hundreds of people with disabilities use the beach every year, and the numbers are rising.

The program is run by volunteers, including medical personnel and helpers from the Italian Paralympic Swimming Federation, who make sure participants are safe in the water.

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