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Vatican

Vatican comments on situation of missing Chinese Bishop Shao Zhumin

June 26, 2017. Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin, from Wenzhou in Continental China, was taken into custody by Chinese police on Easter weekend 2017. While recognized as a bishop in the Catholic Church, he is an unofficial bishop or "underground” in China, since the Chinese government does not recognize him as religious.
Pope Francis

Pope Francis' complete schedule for Colombia trip

June 23, 2017. He will go to Colombia September 6-11.
Vatican

Bruno Marie Duffé, new secretary of the Department for Integral Development

June 16, 2017. Thepope has named French priest Bruno Marie Duffé, from Lyon, number two of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. He will be in charge of one of the key offices in the Vatican Curia.
Pope Francis

Angela Merkel to meet with pope on June 17

June 9, 2017. The Vatican has confirmed that on Saturday, June 17, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet with Pope Francis. Both have previously met in Rome in May 2016, February 2015 and May 2013, two months after Pope Francis was elected pontiff.
Pope Francis

Pope Francis to meet with Venezuelan bishops on June 8

June 5, 2017. Pope Francis will meet with Venezuelan bishops next Thursday to discuss the situation their country is facing.
Vatican

New secretary of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life

May 31, 2017. The Brazilian priest Alexandre Awi Mello, the National Director of Brazil's Schönstatt Movement, will serve as the new secretary. He was born Rio de Janeiro in 1971, and ordained a priest in 2001.

How St. Egidio changed Christmas for the homeless in Rome

2014-01-02

For one special day each year, the majestic Basilica of Our Lady in Trastevere becomes a dining hall. It opens its doors to Rome's most vulnerable people to give them an memorable Christmas meal.

"Since 1989, I've come here to St. Egidio, and they really care for me. I am so happy to be with my friends at St. Egidio, because I'm the famous beggar of Piazza Vittorio.”

"This is a beautiful moment for our family, all of us. So we treasure it, and I think we gain more out of it.”

Dozens of volunteers
set up the tables inside the Basilica to welcome their guests from across the Eternal City. The Community of St. Egidio started the tradition 31 years ago with 20 guests. Now, there are hundreds!

"They are our friends. Those we find during the week at the train station sleeping on the street. Those that live abandoned at elderly homes because they don't have any family. Those who are sick. Those who don't have a place to be.”

More than just being marginalized, the people invited to the dinner are the ones the Community helps out year-round, through their programs. Each year, the number keeps growing, but so does the number of volunteers.

ELDERLY VOLUNTEER
"It's a beautiful things. I helped out one  year. My priest had me volunteer. And I haven't missed a luncheon since. You take part just one year and you'll want to come back.”

Several cooks prepare the meal at nearby soup kitchens. Local restaurants in the popular neighborhood also pitch in.

 "It's a place for encounter and solidarity. It's like a big, extended family. Everyone is happy, we share so many things. Each person gets a personalized gift with their very own name.”

After the meal, Babbo Natale, aka Santa Claus, delivers each gift. They range from children's toys, to blankets to keep homeless guests warm at night.

This yearly tradition continues in large part thanks to the Community of St. Egidio, and its many volunteers. And judging by the look of satisfaction and joy on each guest's face, it might hard to tell who is truly doing the giving and receiving.


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