By Robin Gomes
In the spirit of Christmas, Pope Francis is inviting a group of poor people to a lunch offered by the athletes of Italy’s military finance police, said the Office of Papal Charities.
On behalf of Pope Francis, the Office headed by the Pope’s official Almoner, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, has invited the poor people to the Christmas lunch on December 18 hosted by the Gruppo Sportivo Fiamme Gialle (Yellow Flames Sporting Group) at the sports centre of the Guardia di Finanza (Finance Police), at Castelporziano, close to the seaside.
The invitees are cared for by Caritas of the Pope’s Rome Diocese at its canteen and centre at the sea-side town of Ostia, close to Castelporziano.
The Guardia di Finanza athletes themselves will cook and serve the lunch and offer gifts to their guests, in a day of sharing, celebration and fun that sports can offer in a family atmosphere.
The Office of Papal Charities explained that the initiative was made possible by Athletica Vaticana, the athletic association of the Vatican, which wanted to relaunch the appeal of Pope Francis to live Christmas in the name of solidarity and concrete attention to those most in need.
The lunch, it said, is a witness of charity and fraternity through the language of sport which, by its very nature, fosters inclusion and respect for the dignity of the least.
The Guardia di Finanza is an Italian law enforcement agency under the authority of the Minister of Economy and Finance, that is essentially responsible for dealing with financial crime, smuggling and illegal drug trade.
The Office of Papal Charities organizes initiatives of solidarity and sharing with the poor of Rome Diocese, usually around Christmas and Easter, as an expression of the Pope’s closeness to society’s least, last and the lost. Often, Pope Francis pops in at these get-togethers unannounced, surprising everyone.