Vatican City, Nov 12, 2020 / 06:30 am
Coronavirus restrictions have forced the Vatican to scale down this Sunday’s commemoration of the World Day of the Poor, a Vatican archbishop said Thursday.
Speaking at a press conference Nov. 12, Archbishop Rino Fisichella said that the pope would not be able to host a lunch for poor inhabitants of Rome at the Vatican as he had in previous years.
The president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization also noted that the Vatican would be unable to provide a “field hospital” for the poor in St. Peter’s Square as it had in the past.
He said: “As one can imagine, the customary events that have been realized in recent years -- I refer in particular to the field hospital in St. Peter’s Square and the lunch with 1,500 poor people together with the Holy Father in the Paul VI Hall -- have been suspended in order to comply with current regulations.”
But Pope Francis will follow his custom of celebrating a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on Nov. 15, when the annual observance of the World Day of the Poor falls.
“Besides volunteers and benefactors, only 100 persons will be present in St. Peter’s Basilica, to represent symbolically all the poor people of the world who, on this day, particularly need the attention and solidarity of the Christian community. Some persons, who are assisted every day by different charitable associations, will proclaim the readings,” Fisichella said.
The Vatican archbishop said that measures to restrict the pandemic would not prevent other charitable activities at the Vatican and throughout Rome.
“In the clinic under the colonnade of St. Peter’s, by the Elemosineria Apostolica (the Office of Papal Charities), the poor who must have access to dormitories or those who want to return to their homeland can get the coronavirus cotton swab test,” he said. “The clinic is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and, in two weeks, has carried out 50 cotton swabs tests per day.”