After Mass at the 27th Eucharistic Congress in Matera, Italy, Pope Francis briefly visited the “Don Giovanni Mele Fraternity Kitchen” in the city, the Vatican press office reported the same day. He greeted the staff and blessed the new structure of this establishment, which was recently opened.
The Pontiff was set to visit the soup kitchen according to the program announced in July, but the visit was cancelled in early September. An unforeseen event seems to have made the visit possible: The Pope went to Matera by car and not by helicopter, due to the stormy weather conditions.
The Sir agency – sponsored by the Italian bishops’ conference – reports that the Pope was accompanied at the soup kitchen by the Archbishop of Matera, Antonio Giuseppe Caiazzo.
The Holy Father, from his wheelchair, greeted those at the entrance and then made a brief private visit to the premises.
Vatican News explained that the center is named after Fr. Giovanni Mele, a local parish priest who was known for his great dedication and service to the poor.
The kitchen serves around 100 meals per day. During the pandemic, the soup kitchen offered meals for carry-out.