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World Day of the Poor: ‘Do not turn your face away’

As the Church prepares to celebrate the World Day of the Poor on 19 November, Pope Francis urges everyone to work toward providing free healthcare, medical examinations, vaccinations, and bill payment assistance to those in need.

By Sr. Titilayo Aduloju, SSMA

Pope Francis instituted the celebration of the World Day of the Poor in 2017.

He encouraged the Church to “go forth”, beyond its own walls, to encounter poverty “in the multiple meanings in which it manifests itself in today’s world.”

The Pope will preside over the Eucharistic Celebration marking the seventh edition of the World Day of the Poor in St. Peter’s Basilica on 19 November.

‘Do not look away from the poor’

“Do not look away from the poor” (Tobit 4,7), is the theme for the 2023 World Day for the Poor.

Pope Francis begins his message for the Day by stressing that “a great river of poverty is traversing our cities and swelling to the point of overflowing; it seems to overwhelm us, so great are the needs of our brothers and sisters who plead for our help, support and solidarity.”

“We are living,” he continues, “in times that are not particularly sensitive to the needs of the poor. The pressure to adopt an affluent lifestyle increases, while the voices of those dwelling in poverty tend to go unheard.”

Schedule for the day: Lunch and medical care

The 2023 World Day of the Poor will be hosted by the Dicastery for the Service of Charity.

A lunch with the poor will be offered by Hilton Hotels in Italy, and will take place in the Paul VI HAll after the Eucharistic celebration.

The Dicastery for the Service of Charity will also offer free medical care to those in need through the Mother of Mercy Outpatient Clinic, located at the Colonnade of St. Peter’s Square.

About 50 medical personnel, including doctors and nurses, will be available on the day.

Pope Francis’ Message

The Dicastery for Evangelisation reiterated the Pope’s message.

“The World Day of the Poor, a fruitful sign of the Father’s mercy, comes for the seventh time to support the journey of our communities. It is an appointment that the Church is progressively rooting in her pastoral, in order to discover more and more the central content of the Gospel. Every day we are committed to welcoming the poor, yet this is not enough. A river of poverty flows through our cities and gets bigger and bigger until it overflows; that river seems to overwhelm us, so much so that the cry of the brothers and sisters asking for help, support, and solidarity is growing louder and louder. For this, on the Sunday before the feast of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, we gather round his Canteen to receive again from him the gift and the commitment to live poverty and to serve the poor.”

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