August 19, 2014. ThePope's Twitter account has surpassed 15 million followers in the 9 languages where he publishes his tweets. The most popular accounts are Spanish, with almost 6.5 million followers; English, with more than 4 million followers and Italian, with almost 2 million followers.
August 13, 2014. Several hours before boarding his flight to Seoul, Pope Francis sent out a tweet asking for prayers for the fruits of his trip to South Korea.
As I begin my trip, I ask you to join me in praying for Korea and for all of Asia.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) August 13, 2014
August 12, 2014. The Pope accepted the resignation of Archbishop Nikolaos Foskolos, the former Archbishop of Athens. He has named Sevastianos Rossolatosto succeed him.
August 11, 2014. Pope Francis has sent
a message of condolence for the plane crash in
Tehran which claimed the lives of almost 40 people. The Pope
expressed his sadness for the tragedy and prayed for the eternal
repose of the victims as well as consolation for their families. The
Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, sent the
telegram in the Pope's name to Archbishop Ignazio
Bedini of Ispahan.
August 11, 2014. Pope Francis has sent a message of condolence for the plane crash in Tehran which claimed the lives of almost 40 people. The Pope expressed his sadness for the tragedy and prayed for the eternal repose of the victims as well as consolation for their families. The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, sent the telegram in the Pope's name to Archbishop Ignazio Bedini of Ispahan.
August 8, 2014. Pope Francis called on the faithful to pray for Iraq via his Twitter account. The Pope asked to "pray for Iraqi Christians and all vulnerable populations” as well as for "those who have been forced from their homes in Iraq.”
Please take a moment today to pray for all those who have been forced from their homes in Iraq. #PrayForPeace— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) August 8, 2014
August 7th, 2014. Pope Francis has named Fr. Bohdan Danylo as bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of St. Josaphat (USA).
"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.
"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.