Pope invites poor people to Christmas lunch

In the spirit of Christmas, Pope Francis is inviting a group of poor people to a lunch offered by the athletes of Italy’s military finance police, said the Office of Papal Charities.

On behalf of Pope Francis, the Office headed by the Pope’s official Almoner, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, has invited the poor people to the Christmas lunch on December 18 hosted by the Gruppo Sportivo Fiamme Gialle (Yellow Flames Sporting Group) at the sports centre of the Guardia di Finanza (Finance Police), at Castelporziano, close to the seaside.The invitees are cared for by Caritas of the Pope’s Rome Diocese at its canteen and centre at the sea-side town of Ostia, close to Castelporziano.

The Guardia di Finanza athletes themselves will cook and serve the lunch and offer gifts to their guests, in a day of sharing, celebration and fun that sports can offer in a family atmosphere.The Office of Papal Charities explained that the initiative was made possible by Athletica Vaticana, the athletic association of the Vatican, which wanted to relaunch the appeal of Pope Francis to live Christmas in the name of solidarity and concrete attention to those most in need.

The lunch, it said, is a witness of charity and fraternity through the language of sport which, by its very nature, fosters inclusion and respect for the dignity of the least.The Guardia di Finanza is an Italian law enforcement agency under the authority of the Minister of Economy and Finance, that is essentially responsible for dealing with financial crime, smuggling and illegal drug trade.

The Office of Papal Charities organizes initiatives of solidarity and sharing with the poor of Rome Diocese, usually around Christmas and Easter, as an expression of the Pope’s closeness to society’s least, last and the lost.  Often, Pope Francis pops in at these get-togethers unannounced, surprising everyone. 

Pope Francis: Know the value of food

The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) held a day dedicated to water, agriculture and food at a university in the Spanish city of Madrid. Pope Francis begins his address by stating that the theme of the event reminds him of the prophet Isaiah who “compares the Word of God to the rain that waters the earth”.

“Rain, the harvest and food”, says Pope Francis, are all closely linked in the Bible. They are interpreted with gratitude, he says, “never from the point of view of voracity or exploitation.”The faith of believers, continues the Pope, is transformed into a responsibility to not be caught up in malicious calculations that keep us from helping those most in need. He explains that “the tomorrow we all wish for can only come from loyal, fraternal and generous cooperation.”

Leaving nobody behind
The Pope says that nowadays humanity is facing several complex problems that require international collaboration, because “in this way, the right decisions will be taken and a solid foundation will be laid to build a just and inclusive society, where no one is left behind.”“Water is paramount and yet, unfortunately, not everyone has access to it” says the Pope. “It is imperative that it be better distributed and managed in a sustainable and rational way.”

The Earth: life for the human family
Pope Francis goes on to explain the importance of caring for the environment. “When this is not done”, he explains, “the earth ceases to be a source of life for the human family”.This is also why we should educate children and young people to eat healthily, says the Pope, as “proper nutrition means knowing the value of food”.

Finally, Pope Francis urges us to see the dinner table as “a place of meeting and fraternity, and not just a space for boasting, waste or fickleness.”