Playgrounds in Rome

In 1920 Pope Benedict XV appealed to the Knights of Columbus who raised $1.5 million to provide playgrounds for the needy children of Rome. Since that time the Order has established seven such playgrounds. Five remain open today. On May 10, 1959, Pope John XXIII visited the playground at St. Peter's Oratory and, after expressing gratitude to all who bestow kindnesses upon youth, noted particularly the "praiseworthy society of the Knights of Columbus" who made these playgrounds possible. In 1966, learning that the Vatican had expressed a wish to erect a Papal Audience Hall adjacent to St. Peter's Basilica, the Order conveyed the property upon which St. Peter's Oratory was located to the Holy See. The deed of gift for the land was executed and delivered on July 1st of that year. Visitors to Rome have no difficulty in identifying the remaining playgrounds marked by attractive modern signs showing they were founded by the Knights of Columbus.