After Mother Teresa Canonization, Pope Francis Throws Pizza Party for 1,500 Homeless

A pizza maker waits to show his pizza with a drawing of Pope Francis at the end of his weekly general audience at St Peter's square on June 15, 2016 in Vatican. / AFP / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)

After officiating the canonization Mass for Mother Teresa of Calcutta on Sunday, Pope Francis played host to 1,500 poor people from a number of Italian cities, throwing them a pizza party in the Vatican.

The Vatican brought in a team of some 20 pizza bakers, complete with three mobile ovens, to churn out thick-crusted Neapolitan pizzas for the guests in the spirit of the Albanian nun who devoted her life to serving the “poorest of the poor.”

The canonization Mass, which saw Mother Teresa honored officially as a Catholic saint, took place in a sunny Saint Peter’s Square Sunday before a crowd of more than 100,000 people from around the world.

The Pope had reserved one of the areas closest to the altar for 1,500 homeless people from around the country to be able to take part in the ceremony. The guests came from shelters run by the Missionaries of Charity, the religious order founded by Mother Teresa, in the cities of Milan, Bologna, Florence and Naples.

“They traveled all night by bus to participate first in the canonization and then in the lunch,” said Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the Pope’s almoner.

In his homily at Mass, the Pope called Mother Teresa an “emblematic figure of womanhood and of consecrated life” and held her up as a “model of holiness” for today’s generation. In all aspects of her life, Francis said, Teresa was “a generous dispenser of divine mercy, making herself available for everyone through her welcome and defence of human life, those unborn and those abandoned and discarded.”

Sunday’s post-canonization lunch took place in the ample Paul VI hall, which serves as a center for meetings and large gatherings in the Vatican City.

The pizzas were served by 250 of Mother Teresa’s sisters along with some 50 brothers of the male branch of the Missionaries, and other volunteers who offered their services for the occasion.

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