Vatican City Helping the destitute is the ‘passport to paradise’ for Christians, the Pope says, as he led mass for thousands of poor people in St Peter’s Basilica.
Pope Francis celebrated the World Day of the Poor on Sunday with some 6,000-7,000 poor people from all over Europe.
They were taken to the Vatican by Catholic charities.
‘(The poor) are the ones who open to us the way to heaven; they are our passport to paradise. For us it is an evangelical duty to care for them,’ he said in a homily.
‘All too often, we have the idea that we haven’t done anything wrong, and so we rest content, presuming that we are good and just… But to do no wrong is not enough.’
During the service in St Peter’s, Francis was assisted by 12 people – migrants, poor or homeless people – and one of the readings was delivered by a Syrian refugee.
After mass, about 1500 poor people were due to have lunch with the Pope, the Vatican said.
Francis, who calls himself ‘a street priest,’ said days after his election to the papacy in 2013, that he wanted to lead ‘a poor church, for the poor.’