Born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the pope is celebrating his name day today, and so are the poor of Rome!
On the occasion of today’s feast of St. George, the bishop in charge of organizing the pope’s charity work will hand out some 3,000 ice cream cones to poor people. This distribution, the Office of Papal Charities explained on the same day, was desired by Pope Francis to celebrate the feast day of his patron saint.
“The Holy Father Francis,” said the communique, “wants to celebrate his name day with the most needy and with the homeless of Rome.” To this end, 3,000 ice cream cones will be distributed to the people welcomed every day by the soup kitchens and shelters of the Italian capital. Most of these centers, said the Office of Papal Charities, are administrated by Caritas.
This distribution of “gelato,” a symbol of Italian gastronomy, comes as hot weather has held sway in Rome for several days. After several rainy months, the weather forecast is not predicting any more precipitation for the days to come, but rather a totally clear sky.
Since his election in 2013, Pope Francis has asked the Almoner of His Holiness to take steps to help the poor of Rome in concrete ways. This includes shelters, but also barber services and laundry services. In 2016, the Argentine pope chose to celebrate his 80th birthday in a soup kitchen for the poor, and he himself brought the cakes.