N.Y. Mayor tackles Rome's graffiti after papal audience - Catholic Courier
New York's Mayor Eric Adams paints over graffiti with Rome's Mayor Roberto Gualtieri in Rome's Trastevere neighborhood May 11, 2024. New York's Mayor Eric Adams paints over graffiti with Rome's Mayor Roberto Gualtieri in Rome's Trastevere neighborhood May 11, 2024. The two mayors were taking part in an annual city-wide initiative called, "Rome Takes Care of Rome." (CNS photo courtesy of Mayoral Photography Office/Michael Appleton)

N.Y. Mayor tackles Rome’s graffiti after papal audience

ROME (CNS) — New York’s Mayor Eric Adams took a break between an audience with Pope Francis in the Vatican and a conference on human fraternity to head to Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood to help volunteers paint over graffiti.

He arrived about 15 minutes after Rome’s Mayor Roberto Gualtieri joined organizers and volunteers from the “Trastevere Attiva” and “ReTake Roma” associations at 12:15 p.m. May 11 as part of an annual city-wide initiative called, “Rome Takes Care of Rome.”

Wearing a blue “ReTake” volunteer bib, a baseball cap and sunglasses, Adams stood next to Gualtieri as they brushed light-colored paint over a wall near a 13th-century former monastery.

“This is good paint,” he said, commenting on how well it was covering up the spray paint, grime and markings on the wall.

After the brief, symbolic paint job, which volunteers completed, Adams and Gualtieri were taken inside the former monastery to its cloistered garden, which has been “adopted” by “Trastevere Attiva,” whose volunteers have established an herbal and vegetable garden similar to those cultivated by monks in the Middle Ages. Sections of the monastery are part of a public hospital complex, and the group involves at-risk teenagers who live at a hospital residence to take care of the garden and enjoy the fresh vegetables.

Adams gave a brief speech, Gianfranco Caldarelli, president of “Trastevere Attiva,” told Catholic News Service. “He talked about how New York had similar problems” with urban blight and neglect, and how local volunteers play an important part in pitching in to help support the city’s efforts.

Mayor Adams in Rome for World Meeting on Human Fraternity

Adams was in Rome for the May 10-11 World Meeting on Human Fraternity, organized by the Vatican’s Fratelli Tutti Foundation. The conference brought Nobel laureates, government officials, scientists, experts, athletes and artists to a series of roundtable discussions across the city to discuss specific themes all aimed at strengthening solidarity and peace.

“I’m traveling to Rome because the solutions to the problems facing our city, country and planet must be solved together — by sharing ideas and strategies,” Adams said on his mayoral channel on X, @NYCMayor, May 10.

“We will be talking infrastructure, climate change, the asylum seeker crisis and so much more. Through hard work and faith, there is nothing we can’t accomplish,” he wrote.

Later in the day, Adams was the keynote speaker with Gualtieri at a Human Fraternity roundtable with about 50 Italian mayors under the age of 40.

The roundtable, held in a city hall meeting room on Rome’s Capitoline Hill, focused on building a sense of community in cities, something he said city governments can do best if they partner with clergy and faith-based organizations.

“There is far too much cynicism about what the future holds for humankind,” he told the mayors. “But today, I’m filled with hope and positivity as I hear your stories and plans to create a more just and humane world. Let’s continue to work together on solutions for the urban challenges facing every city across the globe.”

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