- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 10, 2013

An estimated 200 homeless dined at the Vatican on July 1, at the special invitation of Pope Francis. They were served by Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, in the name of the pope, Catholic News Agency reported.

“I welcome you in the name of the pope. As you know, this is your home and he is pleased that you are here,” the cardinal said, in pre-dinner remarks, CNA reported.

The dinner near Our Lady of Lourdes was put together by a charity that regularly serves the Vatican, the Circle of Saint Peter.

“Our Lady who stands before us looks upon us with serenity,” the cardinal said, CNA reported. “It is that same gaze that I wish upon each one of you and upon those who care for you with so much love.”

The homeless were bussed in and given a formal welcome by 122 members of the Circle, including its president. They were served a meal prepared by the Naples chefs, and entertained by the Vatican Gendarmes Band, CNA reported. And each, on the way out, was presented a gift of pastries, fresh fruit and a rosary, CNA reported.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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