No one can say Pope Francis doesn’t practice what he preaches. Even as he daily urges Christians to do more for the poor, he keeps finding ways to help them personally. This time the Pope has decided to raffle off gifts he has received during the past year as a way to fund projects for the homeless.
As of several days ago, in the Vatican offices open to the public a new poster was tacked onto the wall: “Raffle to benefit the charitable works of the Holy Father.”
Since the beginning of his pontificate Francis has shown special concern for the homeless of Rome, sometimes sneaking out of the Vatican in order to talk with them or take them food. Just last week, the Pope commissioned showers to be added to the public restrooms under Saint Peter’s Basilica so that the homeless would have a place to wash.
The papal raffle will serve to raise funds to finance projects for the homeless. First prize is a fully loaded Fiat Panda. The car is white, of course, because the car, as well as all other prizes, are the presents given to the Pope during the year, which he has decided to use to raise money for worthwhile social initiatives.
Second prize, on the other hand, is a heavenly blue racing bike, and the third through fifth prizes are also bicycles: one orange with a basket, another gray, and another a tandem. The sixth prize is a high-definition, Japanese digital videocamera, followed by watches, silver frames, fine pens, briefcases, wireless devices for iPod and iPhone, and an Illy coffee maker. There is even a white Panama hat, made by the Ecuadorian milliner Homero Ortega.
Along with the main items there will be a series of consolation prizes given away: umbrellas, perfumes, scarves, books, and belts. All are raffled as a way to make concrete gestures of charity toward the needy.
The 10-euro tickets are being sold at several Vatican offices such as the post office or Vatican pharmacy, as well as the museums or office of pilgrims and tourists. The draw will take place on January 8, 2015, under the watchful gaze of a notary and Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, Governor of Vatican City-State.