Pope Francis hosted a group of poor and homeless people including transgender women from Torvaianica, south of Rome to lunch in the Vatican on the Church’s World Day of the Poor.
Over 1,200 people in all came for the lunch that transformed the Hall into a large and unique restaurant for the customary annual lunch with Pope Francis on the World Day of the Poor.
The Pope began the lunch with a blessing when he thanked the Lord for this “moment of friendship, all together”, for the meal, and for those who prepared it. The tables adorned with white and yellow flowers offered a colourful backdrop for images capturing an unforgettable moment of welcome, concern, care and love for all those who for the rest of the year live on the streets.
‘This is a fantastic opportunity for us transexuals,’ said Claudia Victoria Salas, 55, a transgender tailor and cleaner originally from Argentina who was seated opposite Francis. ‘I send the Pope a big kiss!’
The Dicastery for the Service of Charity organized the event, while Hilton Hotels provided the lunch, with special attention to the menu so that the meal could be enjoyed by people of various faith backgrounds present.
Since Francis became Pope in 2013, the Argentine has sought to take the Church in a more inclusive direction. In January, Francis called on Catholic bishops to welcome LGBTQ+ people and criticised laws criminalising homosexuality.