After leading pilgrims in the Angelus prayer, the Pope made a series of appeals, the first of which was for the World Day for the Poor. He prayed that the poor and disadvantaged would be "the center of our communities" not just on special occasions, but always, "because they are the heart of the Gospel, in them we encounter Jesus who speaks to us and challenges us through their sufferings and their needs."
He also drew attention to beatification of Fr. Solanus Casey yesterday in Detroit, saying the friar was "a humble and faithful disciple of Christ, who distinguished himself with an untiring service to the poor."
"May his witness help priests, religious and laity to live with joy the link between the announcement of the Gospel and the love for the poor."
Francis also offered special prayers for those living "a painful poverty" due to war and conflict, and renewed his appeal to the international community "to commit every possible effort in favor of peace, especially in the Middle East."
He prayed especially for Lebanon, particularly for the country's stability, "so that it may continue to be a message of respect and sharing for every religion and for the entire world."
A final appeal he made was for the crew of an Argentine military submarine, who have been missing for several days without a trace.
After concluding the Angelus, Pope Francis made his way to the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, where he had lunch with some 1,500 poor and needy in town for the World Day of the Poor.
Before the meal, Francis said a blessing for the food and for everyone there, asking the Lord "to bless us, to bless the meal, to bless those who prepared it, to bless all of us, our hearts, our families, our desires and our lives, that he give us health and strength. Amen."
He also offered a blessing for all those eating in other soup kitchens throughout Rome. "Rome is full of these today," he said, and asked for "a greeting and an applause" for the thousands of others participating in the event.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PopeFrancis?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PopeFrancis</a> says blessing before eating lunch, prays for the cooks, the guests, their families & charity organizations in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Rome?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Rome</a>: asks that they receive "health & strength" <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WorldDayofthePoor?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WorldDayofthePoor</a> <a href="https://t.co/jRrW0dN3xc">pic.twitter.com/jRrW0dN3xc</a></p>— Elise Harris (@eharris_it) <a href="https://twitter.com/eharris_it/status/932212710749691905?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 19, 2017</a></blockquote>
<script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>