For this weekend's 5th World Day of the Poor, the Holy Father travels to the homeland of his namesake.
Pope Francis will travel to Assisi on November 12 ahead of the 5th World Day of the Poor that takes place Sunday, November 14. In the homeland of his namesake, the Pope will meet with some 500 underprivileged people from all over Europe.
This will be the fifth time since his election in 2013 that Pope Francis will tread the streets of Assisi.
He will arrive at 9 a.m and be welcomed on the forecourt of the Sainte-Marie-des-Anges basilica. There, he will symbolically receive “the pilgrim’s mantle and staff,” according to a press release from the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, which is sponsoring the event.
Then, Pope Francis and the poor will walk together towards the basilica, a way of signifying that “all have come as pilgrims to the places of Saint Francis to listen to his word,” explains the Council.
The Pope will then go to the Portiuncula, the small church now enclosed by the basilica, which Saint Francis restored. He will bless a stone taken from the famous building, to be given to representatives of the “Rose di San Francesco” homeless shelter founded in 2007 in Trsat, Croatia, by the local Fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order.
Six of the special guests will then share their testimonies, and the Holy Father will give his own reflections.
After a break at 10:30 am, there will be a time of prayer. Then the Pontiff will distribute gifts, before taking his leave.
He will return to the Vatican by helicopter.
Those representing the underprivileged will be welcomed for a lunch offered by the Bishop of Assisi, Domenico Sorrentino.
In the afternoon, visits to the Basilica of Saint Francis or the Convent of San Damiano will be offered. In the evening, a “vigil of mercy” as well as a torchlight procession are on the program, according to the FratelloAssociation.
As part of the day’s events, the guests will receive a backpack containing clothes from the Italian brand Tombolini – sweaters, scarves, hats, windbreakers and anti-Covid masks made of washable fabric.
Some of the guests are arriving from the Dioceses of Umbria under the leadership of Caritas; others come with the French association Fratello, while others are coming from Rome, where several groups are participating in the event, such as the apostolic chaplaincy of the Pope, Caritas of the diocese of Rome, the community of Saint Egidio, etc.
A day of the poor around the world
With Pope Francis’ morning in Assisi, he will kick off the 5th World Day of the Poor.
The participants will return to their homes on Saturday, November 13, “sent” by the Pope, in order to live this World Day in their local parishes on Sunday, explained the director of Fratello, Étienne Villemain.
The World Day for the Poor was established by Pope Francis during the Jubilee of Mercy.
This year, some 50 locations around the world will host local initiatives honoring the most vulnerable. A worldwide online prayer event is scheduled for Sunday, November 14, at 3:00 p.m. Rome time.