The Vatican today released a document called “The Pastoral Care of Gypsies,” the fruit of recent work by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples. The document covers ministry to a people who live throughout Europe and are variously called Gypsies, Sinti, Roma, and Travelers. In many places they are considered parasites and common thieves (mainly because of the numerous warnings to tourists of gypsy pickpockets.)
The document is not online yet, but will be available at the Council’s web site.
Cardinal Hamao explained how the origins of a specific form of pastoral care for gypsies date back to the first half of the 20th century “through the individual initiatives of some zealous priests in France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The Holy See recognized it as a special mission in 1965, after the first historic international pilgrimage of gypsies to Rome, by creating the International Secretariat for the Apostolate of Nomads,” which was later integrated into the Pontifical Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migration and Tourism, created by Paul VI in 1970.