Pope visits residence for elderly, hospice as part of Holy Year of Mercy monthly outings

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ROME — Pope Francis has visited a residence for the elderly and a home for people in vegetative states as part of his charity activities for his Holy Year of Mercy.

A statement from the Vatican said the 33 elderly residents of the home on Rome's periphery were stunned by Francis' visit Friday since they hadn't been alerted in advance. He met with each one before heading off to a hospice home for six people in vegetative states.

The Vatican says that with Friday's visits, Francis wanted to send a message to combat what he has called the "culture of waste," and show that the elderly and sick have inherent value and dignity.

The Vatican says Francis will make such visits one Friday each month during the jubilee year.

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