Pope Francis had lunch with approximately 1,200 poor, refugees, and homeless from around Rome on Sunday to mark the Catholic Church’s seventh observance of the World Day of the Poor.
The lunch, which was offered by Hilton Hotels, included spinach and ricotta cheese-stuffed cannelloni, meatballs with tomato sauce, and a cauliflower purée. The dessert was tiramisu and small pastries.
The lunch was organized by the Vatican’s charity office and the Catholic Sant’Egidio community.
Before the meal, Pope Francis led the weekly Sunday Angelus from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square.
He also celebrated a Mass for the poor in St. Peter’s Basilica, in which he called poverty “a scandal.”
“When the Lord returns, he will settle accounts with us and — in the words of St. Ambrose — he will say to us: ‘Why did you allow so many of the poor to die of hunger when you possessed gold to buy food for them? Why were so many slaves sold and mistreated by the enemy, without anyone making an effort to ransom them?’ (De Officiis: PL 16, 148-149).”
“Let us think, then,” the pope said in his homily, “of all those material, cultural, and spiritual forms of poverty that exist in our world, of the great suffering present in our cities, of the forgotten poor whose cry of pain goes unheard in the generalized indifference of a bustling and distracted society.”
Pope Francis established the World Day of the Poor in 2016 at the end of the Church’s Jubilee Year of Mercy. The day is celebrated each year on the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, a week before the feast of Christ the King.