Luncheon with Pope Francis won't be possible this year.
November 15 is the 4th World Day of the Poor, and the Vatican has been providing free COVID tests to mark the occasion.
Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, at a press conference on November 12, noted that the restrictions of the pandemic have resulted in cancelling some of the now customary events, including the luncheon with Pope Francis.
Nevertheless, other activities, such as the COVID tests, are on. They’ve been offered for the last two weeks, with an average of 50 tests a day being administered.
The theme of World Day of the Poor this year is “Extend your hand to the poor,” a theme that calls for “closeness, solidarity, love,” he said, and refers “to the hands” of all those people who “defied risk” by providing their help.
A meeting for the dioceses
Among the other planned initiatives, more than 5,000 parcels containing essential goods will be sent with the help of the Roma Cares association to families in 60 parishes in Rome. Through the company La Molisana, 2.5 tons of pasta will also be distributed to various charities. Finally, the help of the company UnipolSai Assicurazioni allowed the distribution of more than 350,000 masks to 15,000 students in areas in difficulty.
Despite this pandemic, this day remains a “rendezvous” for the dioceses around the world, invited to nurture “a feeling of care and fraternity” towards the most marginalized people, the prelate said. “Remembering our common destiny can help us lead a life of caring for those who are poorer and who do not have the same opportunities as us,” he said.