VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis is asking all Christians to welcome the poor into their homes for lunch on November 19, 2017, to celebrate the first World Day of the Poor, the Vatican announced today.
The announcement came this morning, as Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, presented the pope’s message for the First World Day of the Poor, called: Let us love, not with words but with deeds.
Asked during the press briefing how normal families can translate the pope’s message into a way of life, Archbishop Fisichella said the first step is to transform the way we think about the poor.
“The poor are not a problem; they are a resource from which to draw as we strive to accept and practice in our lives the essence of the Gospel,” he said, quoting the final lines of the pope’s message.
“When you give alms, do you give a coin with two fingers and move on, or do you take the hand of the poor person?” Archbishop Fisichella asked. We need to be ready to “grasp his hand” and “take interest in the other,” realizing that he or she is a “brother or sister,” he said.
The archbishop also said Pope Francis is calling Christians to concrete action for the poor.
“The Pope is inviting us to open our homes to the poor for lunch,” he said.
Archbishop Fisichella explained that, after celebrating Holy Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on Sunday, November 19, with the poor and volunteers, Pope Francis will host at least 500 poor people at a luncheon in the Paul VI Hall.
All those attending the Sunday Mass will be hosted around the city of Rome, he noted.
Pope Francis called Christians to make the poor their honored guests at table in his message for the World Day.
Addressing local Christian communities, he said: “It is my wish that, in the week preceding the World Day of the Poor, which falls this year on November 19, the Thirty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time, Christian communities will make every effort to create moments of encounter and friendship, solidarity and concrete assistance. ”