Pope Francis hands out gelati for Rome′s poor on his name day | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 23.04.2018
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Pope Francis hands out gelati for Rome's poor on his name day

Christened 'Jorge' when he was born in Argentina, Pope Francis is celebrating his Saint's Day not with a dragon but a gelato. He is sharing the ice cream with 3,000 of Rome's poor and homeless.

On a hot and sunny day in Rome, the Office of Papal Charities announced on Monday that it would distribute the gelati to Rome's soup kitchens and hostels, mainly run by the Catholic charity, Caritas.

The pope's office issued a statement saying the gelati would be "distributed today on the day when the church remembers St. George, 3000 gelati to the people who are daily welcomed in the canteens, dormitories and facilities of the capital, most of them managed by Caritas:

Italian gelati — as opposed to mass produced ice cream — are made from nutritious ingredients and recipes which limit sugar. Near Bologna, the art of making gelati is taken to university level at the Gelato University Carpigiani.

Pope Francis has taken a number of initiatives to help the poor including a free launderette for the homeless. The Lavanderia di Papa Francesco (Launderette of Pope Francis) was opened in a former hospital near the Vatican last year to "restore dignity" and "serve the poorest people, particularly the homeless, who will be able to wash, dry and iron their clothes and blankets."

To celebrate his 78th birthday, Pope Francis gave hundreds of sleeping bags to the capital's homeless people.

The pope has also welcomed several refugee families into the Vatican where they have stayed before being rehoused.

jm/rt (AFP, dpa)

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