It was with an olive wood crozier, donated by the parish of San Timoteo in Termoli and former detainees of the Iktus family home, and made by Michele Todisco — that Pope Francis presided, over the Eucharistic concelebration for the fifth World Day of the Poor at the Vatican Basilica’s Altar of the Confession, on Sunday morning, 14 November.
Before the Mass, in the chapel of the Pietà, the Pontiff met some of the 2000 people in need who participated in the rite in Saint Peter’s, along with those who assist them on a daily basis, as part of the activities of the Apostolic Almoner, Caritas Internationalis, Caritas of the Diocese of Rome, Acli, (Christian Associations of Italian Workers) the Vincentian Family, the Community of Sant’Egidio, the Order of Malta and the association, Le Opere del Padre [Works of the Father].
Among those present were 17 Cardinals and many bishops and priests. Archbishop Rino Fisichella and Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, respectively President and Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, which was entrusted with the organization of the Day, concelebrated at the ceremony.
At the end of Mass, a meal was offered to the poor, as well as the use of a mobile medical unit in Saint Peter’s Square, equipped to carry out tests — free of charge — to evaluate the presence of the hcv virus (Hepatitis C) and the hiv virus. Moreover, food was delivered to 40 foster homes, 5,000 health kits were distributed in 60 parishes and gas and electricity bills were paid to 500 families in need.