Rome (AFP) – Pope Francis marked his name day Monday by ordering thousands of ice creams for Rome’s poorest, in the pontiff’s latest gesture towards the most vulnerable.
Francis, whose real name is Jorge (George) Mario Bergoglio, wants to celebrate Saint George’s Day “with the most needy and the homeless of Rome,” a Vatican statement said.
“Three thousand ice creams will therefore be distributed to those who are welcomed every day by soup kitchens and shelters.”
The treat will be especially welcome as Rome has been experiencing summer-like temperatures for the past week.
The Argentine pontiff, who has made concern for the poor one of the defining themes of his papacy, makes a point of using special occasions to draw attention to their plight.
In 2014 Francis marked his 78th birthday by ordering the distribution of hundreds of sleeping bags to the destitute in the Italian capital.
And in 2016 he kicked off his 80th birthday celebrations by inviting eight homeless people to a breakfast which included pastries from his native Argentina.