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Diversity, attention to detail gives AP competitive win on pope coverage

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When the pope visited an impoverished suburban neighborhood of Lisbon, during his trip to mark the first massive gathering of young Catholics since the pandemic started, photographer Armando Franca was among the few who noticed a group of people among the crowd that had rainbow flags and distinctive signs identifying them as members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Mindful that the day before there had been a couple of incidents involving LGBTQ+ Catholics meeting discrimination from other attendees to the Catholic jamboree despite the pope’s call for inclusion, Franca immediately told colleagues in other formats and set out to photograph and interview them together with videographer Pietro De Cristofaro. With the help of Helena Alves as the overall video coordinator and the guidance of veteran Vatican correspondent Nicole Winfield and Lisbon’s Barry Hatton, colleagues fully reported the incident of an interrupted LGBTQ+ Mass with eyewitness.

That turned into a bigger story as the day wore on, and the Portuguese government had to put out a statement. The pope, meanwhile, made repeated pleas for inclusion, with his “todos, todos, todos” turning into the new “who am I to judge” and one of his main messages to the world’s Catholic youth.

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