5 Tons of pasta, a ton of rice, and more have been donated.
Mass with the Pope, tons of pasta and tomato sauce, thousands of health kits, help with paying electricity bills … the City of Rome is rallying to the World Day of the Poor this Sunday, following the Pope’s lead in giving Gospel priority to “Jesus’ little ones.”
The program for this 5th World Day of the Poor (Francis established the day during the Jubilee of Mercy) will follow a special pilgrimage of the Pope and the poor together in Assisi on November 12.
On the World Day itself, Sunday, November 14, the Pope will begin by celebrating 10 am Mass in St. Peter’s. The congregation will be made up of some 2,000 underprivileged persons, who are assisted through various social programs in the city.
After Mass, a hot meal will be distributed to all.
Other charitable initiatives are also planned in the Diocese of Rome.
In partnership with the Elite supermarket chain, food will be distributed to around 40 homes (“ Case-famiglia ”) that welcome mothers in difficulty with their children and adolescents.
Other companies joined the initiative and will offer a combined total of five tons of pasta, one ton of rice, two tons of tomato sauce, 1,000 liters of oil and 3,000 liters of milk, as well as products for infants.
Some 5,000 first aid kits will be provided to around 60 Roman parishes, to be distributed to the poorest families.
In addition, while a 15% to 30% increase in energy prices weighs heavily on Italian households, the insurance company UnipolSai will help 500 families in difficulty to pay their gas and electricity bills.
Finally, in St. Peter’s Square, volunteers from the University Hospital of Tor Vergata and the Italian Red Cross will offer Hepatitis C and HIV screening tests, all afternoon on November 14.
In the Pope’s message for this day, released in June, the Pope reflected:
The face of God revealed by Jesus is that of a Father concerned for and close to the poor. In everything, Jesus teaches that poverty is not the result of fate, but a concrete sign pointing to his presence among us. We do not find him when and where we want, but see him in the lives of the poor, in their sufferings and needs, in the often inhuman conditions in which they are forced to live. As I never tire of repeating, the poor are true evangelizers, for they were the first to be evangelized and called to share in the Lord’s joy and his kingdom (cf. Mt 5:3). The poor, always and everywhere, evangelize us, because they enable us to discover in new ways the true face of the Father. …
Jesus not only sides with the poor; he also shares their lot. This is a powerful lesson for his disciples in every age. This is the meaning of his observation that “the poor you will always have with you”. The poor will always be with us, yet that should not make us indifferent, but summon us instead to a mutual sharing of life that does not allow proxies. The poor are not people “outside” our communities, but brothers and sisters whose sufferings we should share, in an effort to alleviate their difficulties and marginalization, restore their lost dignity and ensure their necessary social inclusion. On the other hand, as we know, acts of charity presuppose a giver and a receiver, whereas mutual sharing generates fraternity. Almsgiving is occasional; mutual sharing, on the other hand, is enduring. The former risks gratifying those who perform it and can prove demeaning for those who receive it; the latter strengthens solidarity and lays the necessary foundations for achieving justice. In short, believers, when they want to see Jesus in person and touch him with their hands, know where to turn. The poor are a sacrament of Christ; they represent his person and point to him.