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Roma pilgrims seek just ‘one glimpse’ of Pope Francis in Hungary

Kovesi, who is driving a pickup that looks like a “popemobile”, with the cross displayed, hopes to convince people on Sunday to attend a Mass in the open air led by Francis, which will be held in front of Parliament.

Kovesi, who had emblazoned his pickup with pictures of Francis for the trip, said, “We (Roma), who live in this religion, would love to get close to him, just… get… a glimpse.”

“Faith, to us Romas, is the most important thing in the universe. We think we can prove that we are Romas by being near the greatest man of the Earth.”

Rights activists claim that hundreds of thousands of Roma live in Hungary in extreme poverty and are subjected to prejudice at schools and work. The pope, during a 2019 visit to Romania, asked forgiveness on behalf of the Roman Catholic church for the mistreatment suffered by Roma.


Kovesi (50) had his 1,5-metre-high carved cross for a Roma Pilgrimage to the Vatican, in 2003. He said Pope John Paul II blessed the cross as well as the group.

The cross was taken to Csatka in Hungary, a sacred place for Roma throughout Central and Eastern Europe. A small chapel was constructed for it. The inscription in Lovari on the crucifix reads “Holy God, help the Roma”.


Kovesi reported that they carried the cross to the Vatican twice, where Francis blessed it.

Kovesi told Kovesi, “I then told him (Roma), have no own country or homeland but are children of Christ.” As the translator translated, he came directly to me and blessed me.

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