Over the years, the Community of St. Egidio has become synonymous with solidarity. It helps Rome's most marginalized groups by organizing several programs to assist the homeless, the elderly and the disabled.
Every Christmas, the Basilica of St. Maria in Trastevere becomes a mess hall, to celebrate a Christmas luncheon for these groups.
On Sunday, Pope Francis will make his way to this gold-roofed basilica, where he will pray before a 7th Century icon of Our Lady of Clemency, one of the oldest in Rome.
His visit will begin at 5PM, at the square outside the Church. Once inside, he will listen to the testimonies from several people that receive help from the Community of St. Egidio. He will also address the group.
Afterward, he will walk to the Community's headquarters, located a few feet form the Basilica. There, he will meet the organization's leadership team.
The Community of St. Egidio is a Catholic lay organization. In addition to helping marginalized communities in Rome, the group is actively involved in campaigns against the death penalty, and in promoting ecumenism around the world.
Because of its work in building bridges, the Community is often called to help mediate conflicts with religious overtones. Most recently, it helped broker peace agreements in Mindanao in the Philippines, and in the Central African Republic.