Beliefnet
Inspiration Report

Franciscus_in_2015Pope Francis was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, and Pope Francis recently celebrated the feast of St. George. As has become the norm for Pope Francis, he both did and did not make a production of it. He did not throw a massive party or put his birth name up in lights. That does not mean, however, that he did not make a splash. In honor of his namesake, Pope Francis gave the needy and homeless of Rome a special treat: a scoop of gelato on the Pope.

The Office of Papal Charites distributed 3,000 ice creams to the various poor living in Rome who come to soup kitchens, dormitories and other places run by Caritas in the capital. This fits with Pope Francis’ interest in reaching out to his Roman neighbors who lack a home to sleep in at night. In accordance with his desire to reach out, Pope Francis appointed Polish Archbishop Konrad Krajewski as the Pope’s personal almoner. This position was largely ceremonial in the past, but Krajewski has been distributing charity to Rome’s poor in Francis’ name as the Pope directed. Krajewski’s efforts have been lauded as revitalizing his job as he works to implement Francis’ goal of direct outreach. In addition to the unexpected gift of gelato, Krajewski’s office has distributed sleeping bags and offered free showers, haircuts and laundry services.

The recent gift of gelato not only fits Pope Francis’ desire to reach out those who are less fortunate, it also reflects on a personal quirk of the Pope’s. Pope Francis is known for having quite the sweet tooth. His friends from his home country of Argentina often supply him with a type of Argentinian cookie called alfajores which are filled with dulce de leche and coated in chocolate.  For his 80th birthday, Pope Francis also invited a group of homeless men and women to eat breakfast. In addition to meats and Nutella, the meal also featured pastries and more Argentinian sweets in order to bring a smile to the face of the man who is the head of the Roman Catholic Church.

From sharing his birthday pizza with sick children to distributing sleeping bags, Pope Francis seems determined to reach out to the less fortunate in every way he can manage. One can only wonder what he plans to do next.

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