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First World Day of the Poor

Pope Francis: “The poor are the true treasures of the Church” – 1,500 lunch at the Vatican

Rome, 20 November 2017

Pope Francis hosts lunch for 1,500 poor people in the Vatican

Pope Francis hosts lunch for 1,500 poor people in the Vatican

On Sunday 19 November the Catholic world marked the First World Day of the Poor, created by Pope Francis, to indicate the importance of the fight against poverty. His Holiness, who has declared that the poor are the true treasures of the Church, celebrated a Mass for 4,000 in St Peter’s Basilica and then hosted lunch for 1,500 of the very poor in the Paul VI Hall in the Vatican. They were served by 40 deacons and 150 volunteers from Rome parishes, amongst whom were many members and volunteers of the Order of Malta.

The Order’s Grand Hospitaller, in responding to the Holy Father’s call, circulated his message among the Order’s members and volunteers, noting that it would be observed around the Order’s world every year on this day, “living again the Order’s charism ‘Obsequium Pauperum’ – the global commitment in favour of people in need”. 

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The mission of the Order of Malta is inspired by its tradition of ‘Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum', to assist the poor and the sick, and bear witness to the Christian faith.


The Sovereign Order of Malta is a sovereign subject of international law. The Order - which is based in Rome, in via Condotti - has its own Government, an independent magistracy, and bilateral diplomatic relations with 110 countries.


The Order of St John of Jerusalem is one of the oldest institutions of Western and Christian civilisation. Present in Palestine in around 1048, it is a lay religious Order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature.