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Rome Reports

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Keys to World Day of the Poor


World Day of the Poor was started by Pope Francis last year on November 19, 2017, and is meant to take place every year. However, what is the purpose of World Day of the Poor?

WHAT IS WORLD DAY OF THE POOR?

The World Day of the Poor is to help the disadvantaged and poor. It is also a day to spread more awareness to the needs of the poor across the world, and encourage people to take more action in serving them. 

WHY WAS IT ESTABLISHED?

It began soon after the pope's meeting with the poor, during the Jubilee year of Mercy. It was also at this meeting that the pope made a public apology to them.

POPE FRANCIS
“I apologize for all the times that Christians, when in front of a poor person or when a poor person is near, look the other way. I'm sorry.”

Pope Francis established this World Day of the Poor as a call for greater service to the poor and raise more awareness for the disadvantaged. 

MSGR. RINO FISICHELLA
President, Promoting New Evangelization
“He says that we should not just give alms or embrace. The pope, since the beginning of his pontificate, has said this expression: 'one must touch the flesh of Christ.”

One way to 'touch the flesh of Christ' is through the acts of service that will take place during this day in Rome and in every city. 

WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE WORLD DAY OF THE POOR?

Last year, the day focused on the Bible verse “Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in deed and in truth.” A medical hospital tent was set up in front of St. Peter's Square to provide assistance to the poor leading up to the World Day of the Poor. 

On Sunday November 19, 2017, Pope Francis celebrated Mass with the poor in St. Peter's Basilica. Afterward, he sat down and had lunch with them in Paul VI Audience Hall. It is estimated 1,500 people were in attendance for the lunch.

WHAT WILL BE NEW THIS YEAR?

This year World Day of the Poor is based on the psalm verse “This poor man called out, and the Lord heard him.” It will take place on November 18.

As last year medical services will provide assistance to the poor. Unlike in the past, this year services will be available throughout the evening as well.

MSGR. RINO FISICHELLA
President, Promoting New Evangelization
“Many poor people live at night, they're the people of the night. Thus, we have to reflect this in our tent hospital to provide them with a unique experience of participation and attention.”

Similarly, after the Mass in St. Peter's Basilica with the poor, Pope Francis will once again have lunch with the disadvantaged. However, this year he has doubled the amount of invitations. It is estimated that around 3,000 people will be in attendance for the meal in Paul VI Audience Hall. 

The pope hopes more people will open their eyes to the various forms of poverty that exist across the world; and be inspired toward greater charity.