Pope Francis is offering some 1,500 homeless people a pizza lunch at the Vatican after Mother Teresa’s canonisation Mass.
The homeless, most of who live in shelters run by Mother Teresa’s Sisters of Charity order, came to Rome overnight on buses from across Italy to take part in Sunday’s Mass in St Peter’s Square.
They’re getting seats of honour for the celebration and will then be served lunch in the lobby of the Vatican auditorium.
A Neapolitan pizzamaker brought 20 people and three pizza ovens to cook the lunch, which will be served to the guests by some 250 sisters and priests of the Sisters of Charity order.
A fitting tribute highlighting both Saint Teresa of Calcutta’s mission and the common touch that has made Pope Francis so beloved among Roman Catholics.
Obviously, both will leave a legacy of devotion to the poor. There probably is no better way to honor the new saint’s memory than to do something like this. She’s likely smiling down from Heaven, more thrilled about this pizza party than she was about her canonization.
As for Pope Francis, this is his default mode. He doesn’t think of the grand stuff, he thinks about the people in front of him. It’s an outreach that was really begun by Saint John Paul II, who loved getting out and meeting the people all over the world. There was a bit of a lull with Pope Benedict, who is a brilliant theologian but more of an academic than a man of the people. Francis is the guy who called home to cancel his newspaper subscription after being elected pope.
This is a great day for all people of faith and charity, not just Roman Catholics. Saint Teresa’s mission touched almost all who were familiar with her work. In a modern world obsessed with material things, she remained focused on caring for, and honoring those who had nothing. Religious preferences aside, that is something to be admired in anyone.