Pope Francis enjoys lunch with the poor in Rome on the World Day of the Poor, joining around 1,300 guests who dined in the Paul VI Hall inside the Vatican.
By Vatican News reporter
Pope Francis hosted more than 1,300 people assisted by Caritas Rome and the St. Egidio community for a special lunch on the Sunday of the World Day of the Poor.
The annual lunch took place thanks to the organization ensured by the World Evangelism Core Issues Section, which is part of the Dicastery for Evangelization. The Italian d’Amico Società di Navigazione sponsored the meal.
According to Italy’s local Catholic charity, Caritas Italiana, there are 5.6 million people living in poverty in Italy, 1.4 million of whom are children.
Other initiatives in the Vatican coinciding with the World Day of the Poor included health services offered throughout the week in St. Peter’s Square for the underprivileged.
People struggling with poverty often have difficulty or the impossibility of accessing medical care. The mobile clinic facilities in St. Peter’s Square offer medical examinations and medication, including testing and treatment for HIV, hepatitis and tuberculosis.
Services have returned to the square after a two-year hiatus due to restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The project is carried out thanks to the help of the doctors of Cuamm, the PTV Policlinico Tor Vergata Foundation, the Corps of Volunteer Nurses of the Red Cross, the Red Cross, the BIOS Group, the Misericordia Association, SIMIT (Italian Society of Infectious and Tropical Diseases) and SIMG (Italian Society of General Medicine and Primary Care), with the medical team of Professor Loris Pagano and Professor Giulio Nati. The clinical tests are provided by the GILEAD company.
Help the needy
Food parcels for 5,000 families are also distributed through the network of parishes in Rome.
The priests of the parishes who request this help receive the assortment of food products to serve the families in their regions who need this help.
The Italian supermarket chain Elite donated the products totaling some 10 tons of pasta, 5 tons of rice, flour, sugar, salt and coffee, and five thousand liters of oil and milk. Each package brings together an assortment of basic food products for households.
Food storage, warehousing and logistical support are provided by Fiera di Roma. DRIVALIA of the FCA banking group has provided vans for the delivery of food parcels.
Finally, awareness actions to help families struggling with high energy bills due aggravated by the rapid inflation of recent months are also provided. The payment of gas and electricity bills is offered thanks to the generosity of the Italian insurance group UnipolSai Assicurazioni.