Waiters bring lunch to Pope Francis and those seated at his table on the World Day of the Poor on Nov. 19, 2023. The lunch was offered by Hilton Hotels and organized by the Vatican’s charity office and the Sant’Egidio community. / Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA
Rome Newsroom, Nov 20, 2023 / 11:11 am (CNA).
Pope Francis had lunch with approximately 1,200 poor, refugees, and homeless from around Rome on Sunday to mark the Catholic Church’s seventh observance of the World Day of the Poor.
The lunch, which was offered by Hilton Hotels, included spinach and ricotta cheese-stuffed cannelloni, meatballs with tomato sauce, and a cauliflower purée. The dessert was tiramisu and small pastries.
The lunch was organized by the Vatican’s charity office and the Catholic Sant’Egidio community.
Before the meal, Pope Francis led the weekly Sunday Angelus from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square.
He also celebrated a Mass for the poor in St. Peter’s Basilica, in which he called poverty “a scandal.”
“When the Lord returns, he will settle accounts with us and — in the words of St. Ambrose — he will say to us: ‘Why did you allow so many of the poor to die of hunger when you possessed gold to buy food for them? Why were so many slaves sold and mistreated by the enemy, without anyone making an effort to ransom them?’ (De Officiis: PL 16, 148-149).”
“Let us think, then,” the pope said in his homily, “of all those material, cultural, and spiritual forms of poverty that exist in our world, of the great suffering present in our cities, of the forgotten poor whose cry of pain goes unheard in the generalized indifference of a bustling and distracted society.”
Pope Francis established the World Day of the Poor in 2016 at the end of the Church’s Jubilee Year of Mercy. The day is celebrated each year on the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, a week before the feast of Christ the King.
Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, papal almoner, after cutting the ribbon on a new “Pope’s Laundromat” for the homeless. / Credit: Holy See Press Office
Rome Newsroom, Nov 5, 2023 / 07:00 am (CNA).
Pope Francis opened two new laundromats for the homeless in the northern Italian city of Turin on Thursday, Nov. 2.
The new facilities are part of an initiative launched in collaboration with the international consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble and the consumer electronics company Haier Europe, with the assistance of the Community of Sant’Egidio and Apostolic Almsgiving, the papal office of charitable activity.
“With the two new laundries inaugurated in Turin we hope to be able to help many people in difficulty to improve their living conditions, starting from the possibility of taking care of their personal hygiene and that of their clothing,” said Riccardo Calvi, communications director for Procter & Gamble Italia.
The laundromats are located in the parish of San Giorgio Martire and the La Sosta welcome center in Turin’s city center and are operated by volunteers of Sant’Egidio.
The new facilities include washers and dryers donated by Haier as well as detergent. In addition to the laundry services, there are hot showers, and a full range of personal hygiene products will be available, such as shampoo, conditioners, body washes, razors, and shaving creams provided by Procter & Gamble.
These services are “offered free of charge to the poorest people, in particular those without a fixed abode,” Calvi said.
This is not the first such project that the pope has launched in Italy. In 2015 Pope Francis launched a barbershop for the poor, a service run by volunteers, to help provide essential grooming services for Rome’s indigent and homeless.
This effort was followed by the first “Pope’s Laundromat,” which opened in Rome in 2017 and a second one in the Ligurian port city of Genoa in 2019.
This initiative was born out of Pope Francis’ apostolic letter Misericordia et Misera, which was released at the conclusion of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy in 2016.
“The Church must always be vigilant and ready to identify new works of mercy and to practice them with generosity and enthusiasm,” the letter reads.
“Let us make every effort, then, to devise specific and insightful ways of practicing charity and the works of mercy. Mercy is inclusive and tends to spread like wildfire in a way that knows no limits. Hence we are called to give new expression to the traditional works of mercy,” it continues.
“[This initiative] is a concrete and tangible sign supported by the Apostolic Charity Office: A place and a service to give concrete form to charity and at the same time intelligence to the works of mercy to restore dignity to many people,” a press release said.
Polish Cardinal Konrad Krajewski has been at the helm of the pope’s charitable initiatives since becoming papal almoner in 2013.
“When we help the poorest and most vulnerable, we are truly Christians, because we are the means of the Gospel,” Krajewski said.
“This initiative, which is repeated over time, is a source of joy for me because this is a further possibility of being close to wounded humanity, a way to demonstrate the presence and closeness of God to the last,” he said.
Pope Francis prays on St. Peter’s Square, Oct. 5, 2022 / Daniel Ibáñez / CNA
Vatican City, Nov 26, 2022 / 03:30 am (CNA).
Pope Francis is praying for a homeless man who was found dead near the colonnade of St. Peter’s Square on Friday morning.
Burkhard Scheffler, a 61-year-old man born in Germany, died on a cold night on the street, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said on Nov. 25.
Like many homeless people in Rome, Scheffler sometimes spent his nights sleeping under the shelter of the colonnade of St. Peter’s Square, where he received assistance from the Vatican Dicastery for the Service of Charity.
In the past decade, Pope Francis has established many services near the Vatican for the homeless, including a four-story homeless shelter, a medical clinic, a laundry service, showers, and an ambulance.
“Pope Francis learned with sorrow of the death of Burkhard Scheffler near the colonnade of St. Peter’s last night,” Bruni said.
“In his prayer, the pope remembers Burkhard and all those who are forced to live without a home in Rome and around the world and invites the faithful to join him.”
Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, entrusted Burkhard to the intercession of St. Francis while on pilgrimage in Assisi.
Denver Newsroom, Jul 22, 2022 / 17:47 pm (CNA).
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