The 2023 World Day of the Poor will be hosted this coming Sunday by the Dicastery for the Service of Charity. A lunch for the poor will be offered by Hilton Hotels in Italy, and will take place in the Paul VI Hall in Rome. The Dicastery will offer free medical care to those in need through the Mother of Mercy Outpatient Clinic located in St Peter's Square with 50 medical personnel, including doctors and nurses, available to help those in need on the day.
Pope Francis writes:
"Our daily efforts to welcome the poor are still not enough. 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. For this reason, on the Sunday before the Solemnity of Jesus Christ King of the Universe, we gather around his Table to receive from him once more the gift and strength to live lives of poverty and to serve the poor.
“Do not turn your face away from anyone who is poor” (Tob 4:7). These words help us to understand the essence of our witness. By reflecting on the Book of Tobit, a little-known text of the Old Testament, yet one that is charming and full of wisdom...
"We are living 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. We are inclined to neglect anything that varies from the model of life set before the younger generation, those who are most vulnerable to the cultural changes now taking place. We disregard anything that is unpleasant or causes suffering, and exalt physical qualities as if they were the primary goal in life. Virtual reality is overtaking real life, and increasingly the two worlds blend into one. The poor become a film clip that can affect us for a moment, yet when we encounter them in flesh and blood on our streets, we are annoyed and look the other way. Haste, by now the daily companion of our lives, prevents us from stopping to help care for others. The parable of the Good Samaritan (cf. Lk 10:25-37) is not simply a story from the past; it continues to challenge each of us in the here and now of our daily lives. It is easy to delegate charity to others, yet the calling of every Christian is to become personally involved.
"Let us thank the Lord that so many men and women are devoted to caring for the poor and the excluded; they are persons of every age and social status who show understanding and readiness to assist the marginalized and those who suffer. They are not superheroes but “next door neighbours”, ordinary people who quietly make themselves poor among the poor. They do more than give alms: they listen, they engage, they try to understand and deal with difficult situations and their causes. They consider not only material but also spiritual needs; and they work for the integral promotion of individuals. The Kingdom of God becomes present and visible in their generous and selfless service; like the seed that falls on good soil, it takes root in their lives and bears rich fruit (cf. Lk 8:4-15). Our gratitude to these many volunteers needs to find expression in prayer that their testimony will increasingly prove fruitful.
"On this, the sixtieth anniversary of the encyclical Pacem in Terris, we do well to take to heart the following words of Pope Saint John XXIII: “Every human being enjoys the right to life, to bodily integrity and to the means necessary for the proper development of life, including food, clothing, shelter, medical care, rest, and, finally, the necessary social services. In consequence, every individual has the right to be looked after in the event of ill health; disability stemming from work; widowhood and forced unemployment; as well as in other cases when, through no fault of his own, he or she is deprived of the means of livelihood...
"In this house of ours, which is the world, everyone has a right to experience the light of charity; no one must be deprived of that light. May the steadfast love of Saint Therese stir our hearts on this World Day of the Poor, and help us not to “turn our face away from anyone who is poor”, but to keep it always focused on the human and divine face of Jesus Christ our Lord."
You can read the Pope's Message for World Day of the Poor in full here.