By Benedetta Capelli
It is a request that came spontaneously from those who live on the streets, who have been struck by the generosity of the Pope, and his desire to help the most vulnerable and those most exposed to Covid-19. Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the Papal Almoner, told Vatican Radio how, for two weeks, the "Mother of Mercy" clinic, located in the Colonnade of St. Peter's, has been accepting applications from those who wanted to be vaccinated. On Saturday, May 8, some 300 people are expected in the Paul VI Hall. These are people who, for various reasons, are not usually assisted by the charitable organizations serving the area. In recent weeks, approximately 1400 poor people in similar circumstances received vaccinations at the Vatican.
Aid to India and Syria
In the meantime, the Office of Papal Charities reports that the “vaccino sospeso” campaign has proven even more popular than expected.
The campaign takes its name from an Italian custom: a person can pay for two or more cups of coffee, drinking one himself and leaving the other(s) “suspended.” The bar keeps track of these "caffè sospesi" so persons can order a “caffe sospeso” – a “suspended coffee” – without having to pay.
While donating to assist others might not be the most obvious choice in times of difficulty, the Office for Papal Charities says it can be a significant gesture. Even small contributions can add up, enabling the Church to provide help to those in need.
The campaign has been able to contribute more than 200 thousand dollars to help fight the coronavirus in India, a country hard hit by the second wave of the pandemic. Pope Francis has expressed his closeness and solidarity to the people of India, most recently in a letter addressed to Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay.
Syria, suffering not only from the pandemic but also from more than ten years of civil war, has received 350 thousand euros for the same end.
The Office of Papal Charities explained that contributions are entrusted to the apostolic nunciatures, who then distribute them according to need.
Sharing the miracle of charity
On April 23, the feast of St. George and the Holy Father's name day, Pope Francis paid a surprise visit to the approximately 600 people in need who had received the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at the Vatican. The first dose had been given during Holy Week, providing a concrete response to the Pope's various appeals that no one be excluded from the vaccination campaign.
Contributions to the Pope’s efforts to provide vaccinations to those most in need can be made through the website of the Office of Papal Charities.