Pope's Lunch With The Poor © Vatican Media

World Day of the Poor: Pope Will Lunch with 1,500 Guests

Vatican Initiatives

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The third edition of the World Day for the Poor is being observed from November 10-17, 2019, stated a press release of the Holy See Press Office.

Pope Francis instituted the World Day of the Poor, to express care and inclusion to persons that live daily on the margin of society; the Day is organized and promoted by the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization.

Pope Francis’ Message

“The hope of the poor shall not perish forever” (Psalm 9:19). “The words of the Psalm appear with incredible timeliness”; they are the theme chosen by the Holy Father for the Message of this 3rd World Day of the Poor.

The Psalm was written at a time when the people were arrogant and, with no sense of God, persecuted the poor to appropriate their scarce goods and subject them to slavery.

Their situation “is not so different today,” notes the Pontiff in the Message. The words of the Psalm “don’t refer to the past, but to our present, exposed to God’s judgment,” as today we must also point out “the numerous forms of new slaveries to which millions of men, women, young people and children are subjected,” he continues.

Prior Concert

On the eve of the celebration of the 3rd World Day of the Poor, 7,000 needy persons were guests of honor at the third concert “With the Poor and for the Poor,| which took place last Saturday, November 9, in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall.

Maestro Nicola Piovani, winner of an Oscar for the soundtrack of the film “Life is Beautiful,” directed the Italian Cinema Orchestra, whose performance was attended by families in difficulty, elderly people, homeless persons, and many others in fragile and precarious situations.

Mass and Lunch with the Pope

At 10 o’clock on Sunday, November 17, Pope Francis will preside over the Eucharist in St. Peter’s Basilica, in which the poor will take part, accompanied by some volunteers’ associations.

Afterward, the now traditional lunch with the Holy Father will take place. 1,500 persons will be guests at Paul VI Hall, which will be converted into a large dining room with 150 tables, for a celebratory lunch in their honor.

These men and women come from the diocese of Lazio, in Rome, and from other Italian dioceses.

Sign of Inclusion

The lunch is offered by Roma Cares, at the end of which the guests will be given a gift: a packet of La Molisana pasta and a bottle of Coldiretti oil.

The lunch for the poor is also being held, as a sign of inclusion, in every parish and voluntary organization that has joined the initiative, both in Rome and Italy, as well as in the rest of the world, depending on the possibilities. An Out-Patients Clinic will be held again for indigent persons in St. Peter’s Square, where there will be free medical consultations, treatment and clinical analyses throughout the week, for individuals that normally have difficulty accessing such services.

Thanks to the diffusion of this initiative and the support of important organizations, this time there are more medical specializations available, such as general medicine, cardiology, diabetes, dermatology, rheumatology, infectious diseases, gynecology, ophthalmology, podiatry, flu vaccinations, and ultrasounds.

The Clinic has been functioning since Sunday, November 10, and will continue to do so from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm on Sunday, November 17.  The service will be momentarily interrupted on Wednesday morning, given the weekly General Audience, and on Sunday morning, during the Angelus.

Repercussion of the Initiatives

The activities linked to the World Day of the Poor have received increasing support over the years.

Last year, in one week the Clinic received some 2,000 patients, who in turn were given 3,500 free benefits. The intervention of doctors was providential in the case of three patients, who suffered a heart attack at the very moment of their visit. Several individuals with serious infectious diseases were also identified who were treated and followed-up during the necessary period after the World Day.

News is also expected to arrive of the many initiatives carried out in dioceses worldwide.

Collaborating Entities

The services offered in the Clinic are possible thanks to the aid given by some entities that collaborate with the Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, along with other new ones that have joined this year.

Among them are, concretely, in addition to the Health and Hygiene Office of Vatican City State, specialists of the Catholic University — Gemelli Polyclinic, Tor Vergata University and the Assistance Pole and Holy Family Care Home, St. John’s – Addolorata Hospital, the INMP — National Institute for the Promotion of Health of Migrant Populations and the Fight against Poverty Diseases, all of which have made a valuable contribution.

In addition, the Italian Red Cross’ Corps of Voluntary Nurses, the Red Cross Women’s Association of Italy ONLUS and the Italian Society of General Medicine and Primary Care have aided in the service of reception, selection, and care of the visitors, as have the Clinic’s doctors.

The creation of the Clinic and the preparations for the World Day of the Poor have been supported also by UnipolSai, Gilead, Roma Cares, Euroma 2, R.H. Regia Congressi, Sequirus S.r.l. Foundation, Italy’s National Confederation of Mercies, Halga  Italia S.r.l., Method, LEO Pharmacy, Lloyds Pharmacy, Dedalus S.P.A., and Kilabs.

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester

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