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The hundredth sheep

· Pope Francis for the needy of Rome through the Office of Papal Charities ·

“The Gospel for today’s liturgy speaks of the man who leaves 99 sheep to search for the 100th, which has disappeared. This is the charity of the Pope: to leave everything in order to reach those who have gone astray, because, as Jesus says, ‘not even one of these little ones should perish’”. This is how Archbishope Konrad Krajewski explained to our newspaper the spirit of those who are enlivened by the work of the Office of Papal Charities, which even in these days is at the forefront of the most tragic and urgent social emergencies.

After all, the prelate recalled, “charity does not differentiate on colour, race or religion”. It doesn’t distinguish places of origin, just as it doesn’t keep track of hours or holidays: charity “goes to those in need at any time and on any occasion”. The charity of Pope Francis, the Almoner continued, “is for all the needy of Rome, his diocese: whether they have been living in the Urbe for some time, or have just arrived as refugees, immigrants or asylum seekers”.

The heart and mind need arms to make the aid reach far and wide. Those arms are the volunteers who make referrals to the Office of Charities. Theirs is a daily effort: “A sort of rapid response operation”, Archbishop Krajewski indicated, “where there is more necessity and need”. They follow the way of the Gospel, which instructs: when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Sometimes their discrete work even reaches the newspapers, as happened with the prelate’s most recent visit.

On Monday afternoon, 10 August, just as last week and in previous months, volunteers from the Pontifical Swiss Guard accompanied the Almoner in the Office of Charities’ van, which bears the license plate SVC, to the Baobab reception centre in Rome. They delivered boxes of supplies such as pasta, milk, rice, biscuits and oil. These donations of the Pope were earmarked for the immigrants hosted by the shelter. A month ago, the Archbishop also visited the Baobab centre to bring Francis’ gift of medicinal products. The 50 kg of scabies treatment (specifically prepared by the Vatican Pharmacy), 100 packages of antibiotics and antihistamines and 50 antifungal ointments were then distributed by volunteers of the Medicina solidale association and the Unione nazionale italiana trasporto ammalati in Lourdes and international shrines (Unitalsi).

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St. Peter’s Square

Nov. 15, 2018

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