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  • The pope asked for this day

    So what happened when the pope said he wanted to focus on the world’s poor? He decided one day each year should be set aside to encourage all of us to “Love not in word, but in deed?”

    That day, Nov. 19, will be the inaugural World Day of the Poor.

    At the Catholic Herald, our entire newsroom set out to find and share stories on what the Arlington Diocese is doing to reach out to the less fortunate.

    In this week’s edition, follow along as Mary Stachyra Lopez, social media coordinator, discovers how parish health ministries connect the needy with medical and dental care.

    Catch a ride on the Food Bus with Zoey Maraist, staff writer, as she discovers students at St. Mary School in Alexandria are saving their unopened lunch food to share with a nearby food pantry.

    Sit with Elizabeth Elliott, staff writer, as she interviews a man just out of jail and the first client of a diocesan program that helps former inmates readjust to life on the outside.

    Ashleigh Kassock, multimedia designer, put together a handy list of 10 ways to help the needy, from carrying grocery gift cards to packing brown bag lunches complete with new toothbrushes.

    I watched as volunteers stacked shoeboxes filled with gifts for children in developing nations —who might not otherwise get Christmas gifts — as part of a national “Box of Joy” collection.

    Nov. 19, Zoey will be at the Mother of Mercy Free Medical Clinic as Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge blesses the Catholic Charities initiative. Interestingly, the building used to be an abortion clinic.

    And on that very day, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass in St. Peter’s and welcome people to have Sunday lunch with him. Ann estimated 4,000 are expected to come. Since the Vatican’s audience hall only will accommodate 1,500, overflow sites have been set up including the North American College, where several diocesan seminarians study, just up the hill from St. Peter’s. The seminary staff and students will prepare and serve a typical Italian meal with bread, a pasta dish, a second course of meat and vegetables, followed by fruit and dessert.

    Pope Francis reminds us that it is everyone's responsibility "to care for the true riches, which are the poor."

    Let us know what you do to help the less fortunate.

    © Arlington Catholic Herald 2017

    @Ann M. Augherton