The Pope embraces Tomasz, an innocent former prisoner

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Tomasz Komenda

The Pope embraces Tomasz, an innocent former prisoner

By Andrea Tornielli/ lastampa.it

The 41-year-old man has spent almost 20 years in prison, sentenced for raping and killing a young girl.

Pope Francis met him and embraced him right after the audience. Accompanying Tomasz Komenda, a 41-year-old man, were his parents. They came together to Rome to pray on the tomb of Saint John Paul II, at the conclusion of an appalling nightmare. A twenty-year-old boy, accused of raping and murdering a fifteen-year-old girl, who spend the next two decades of his life in a cell. In 2000, two experts from the University of Wroclaw said that Tomasz’s teeth matched the marks left on the victim’s body. That was not true, but the boy had to wait a long time before being recognized innocent, and was able to leave prison.

In prison, as is often the case with people found guilty of crimes involving minors, Tomasz has suffered humiliation of all kinds from his fellow prisoners. The man, now finally free, and his family went to Rome to pray before the holy Polish Pope’s burial. But a priest friend, who had learned of his presence, accompanied Tomasz to the general audience and then to the meeting with Francis.

The Pope was visibly moved. He donated one rosary to Tomasz and another to his parents. He had himself photographed with them. And for lunch the man was invited to the house of Monsignor Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, who has recently been appointed Cardinal. Lunch was prepared by Enzo, a former inmate who served twenty years in prison and now collaborates with the Papal charity office. When he was told the story of Tomasz Komenda, Enzo, who every week prepares the food to be distributed for the poor and homeless in the stations of Rome, was moved: “I know what it means to be in jail for these crimes and I know what other prisoners inflict on you,” he said. He then assured, “I’m going to prepare a lunch for Tomasz like he has never had before”.

Thu, 06/14/2018 - 09:19
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