People must make “a serious examination of conscience to understand whether we are really capable of listening to the poor,” the pope said in a message for the World Day of the Poor.
Between 6,000 and 7,000 poor people attended the Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica as special guests, the Vatican said.
Pope Francis will celebrate the Catholic Church’s first World Day of the Poor Nov. 19 by celebrating a morning Mass with people in need and those who assist them. After Mass, he will offer lunch to 500 people in the Vatican audience hall.
The World Day of the Poor — to be marked each year on the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary time — will be celebrated Nov. 19 this year and will focus on the Apostle John’s call to love “not with words, but with deeds.” The pope is asking local churches to dedicate the week preceding the World Day of the Poor to creative initiatives fostering encounter, friendship, solidarity and concrete assistance.