Pope Francis: Helping the Poor is a 'Passport to Paradise'
By Mei Manuel, November 21, 2017 21:11 PM
On Sunday, Pope Francis invited the poor, homeless and unemployed as his guests of honor for a special Sunday Mass and gourmet meal after, stressing that helping the needy was a way to obtain a "passport to paradise."
The mass marks the Roman Catholic Church's first yearly World Day of the Poor which the Pope established to help put attention to the plight of the needy.
Several volunteers from various charity organizations brought almost 7,000 needy people to St. Peter's Basilica for the celebration with Pope Francis defending their rights alongside the immigrants and the downtrodden. At least 1,500 of them were treated to lunch with the pope in the Vatican's largest audience hall while the rest were treated for lunch in nearby pontifical colleges.
A majority of the special guests were from Rome and other parts of Italy, but there were also groups from nearby countries such as France, Spain, Germany and Poland.
In his homily, the pope said, "if in the eyes of the world they (the poor) have little value, they are the ones who open us to the way to heaven; they are our 'passport to paradise'. For us it is an evangelical duty to care for them..."
He further adds that indifference is a sin of omission and that "God will not ask us if we felt righteous indignation, but whether we did some good."
The pope also said this "is when we say, 'that doesn't concern me; it's not my business, it's society's problem"
"It is when we turn away from a brother or sister in need, when we change channels as soon as a disturbing question comes up, when we grow indignant at evil but do nothing about it."
The menu served for the poor was selected by Vatican chef Sergio Dussin, the same chef who handled the meals for visiting dignitaries at major events in the Vatican. Some of the dishes included gnocchi, fish with tomatoes, Venetian cheese, and Venetian-style tiramisu.
Since he became Pope, Pope Francis has remarked "Oh, how I would like a poor Church and for the poor." He did not use the Vatican's Apostolic Palace for his residence, picking a modest residence in one of the guest houses in the Vatican. In his trips around rome, he prefers to use a simple blue Ford Focus rather than the papal limousine.
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