Pope Francis made a private visit to his cousin who lives in the Asti area in Piedmont, Italy. Another of his cousins, who welcomed him upon his arrival, recalls the letters, the meetings he had in the Vatican and that surprise phone call received on Christmas Day last year. He is visiting his cousin Carla Rabezzana, who turned ninety-years-old a few days ago, residing in Portacomaro, and then his cousin Delia Gai, who lives with other relatives in the locality of Tigliole.
Francis arrived by helicopter at the sports field of Portacomaro Stazione, in the province of Asti, and was welcomed by the parish priest of the hamlet, Don Luigino Trinchero.
He made a brief stop in the local church then by car to his family, greeted by a few hundred people crowded along the street. He also stopped at the local nursing home.
Tomorrow at 11 by the first public moment in Piedmont, with Mass presided over in the cathedral of Asti. Another cousin of Francis', Nella Bergoglio, underlines these are "the lands of his origins". Nella Bergoglio shares her great-great-grandfather Giuseppe with the Pope and in an interview as part of the documentary 'Radici' - made by Telepace and Rete 7 on the occasion of the Pope's visit to Asti. "Francis - she says showing a photo - he used to come here to visit other relatives when he went to Turin to see his closest cousins". The emotion is great for the arrival of the Pope in the Piedmontese city. It seems a bit like the climate that prevailed the day after 13 March 2013, say the editors of the Gazzetta d'Asti. "At the beginning - says the journalist Stefano Masino - there were few who knew of the Piedmontese origins of Pope Francis".
Edited from Vatican News Italian