“When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your kinsmen or rich neighbours, lest they also invite you in return, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the aimed, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repai you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just”.
(Luke, 14, 12-14)
in the Basilica
of Santa Maria in Trastevere, Rome
The Christmas Lunch with the poor is a tradition of the Community of Sant’Egidio since 1982 when a small group of poor people was invited to join the the banquet table in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere.
Why the Community gathers with the poor at the banquet table at Christmas?
The Community is a family gathered by the Gospel. Therefore at Christmas, when all over the world families gather around the table, the Community celebrates with the poor, who are our friends and our relatives.
Who are the friends that participate in this Christmas?
They are above all people who live on the road: our homeless friends and refugees, street children. But also beggars...
A world-wide feast
The feast has widen year after year. It is a contagion of good, and has reached many countries of the South of the world in all continents.
Where does the feast takes place?
Everywhere, above all where there is sorrow. In the churches, in the houses but also in the institutions for the elderly, for children, for the disabled people, in the prisons, in the hospitals, and also on the streets.
Christmas is somehow a miracle: the miracle of the smiling faces of many exhausted people, the miracle of being helpful to many who are not in need but who have lost the deep meaning of the celebration.