Pope to join Sant’Egidio for Holy Family lunch with the poor

VATICAN CITY — After reciting the Angelus at the Vatican Dec. 27, Pope Benedict XVI will travel to Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood to have lunch with the poor, the Vatican announced.

The luncheon will be held at one of the soup kitchens run by the Sant’Edigio Community, a lay movement founded in Trastevere in the late 1960s.

The Basilica of St. Maria in Trastevere filled with people enjoying Christmas lunch last year. (CNS/Courtesty Sant'Egidio Community)

Francesca Zuccari, coordinator of the soup kitchens, said about 200 people will be chosen to represent the average of more than 1,000 people who eat dinner and the 60 volunteers who serve them in the Via Dandolo dining room every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evening.

The papal luncheon on the 27th, the feast of the Holy Family, will be something like the major Christmas luncheon offered by the Sant’Egidio Community and its friends to more than 10,000 people throughout the city of Rome. In just the Basilica of St. Maria in Trastevere, more than 2,000 people are expected to sit down on Christmas Day for a traditional Italian Christmas meal, complete with presents.

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