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Pope plans day of listening, prayer with the poor in Assisi

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VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis will prepare for his celebration of the World Day of the Poor by spending time listening to and praying with 500 poor people from across Europe, who will be gathered in Assisi in November, the Vatican said.

The pope will have what the Vatican described as "a private meeting" with his special guests Nov. 12 at the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels in Assisi, said the announcement.

The World Day of the Poor — marked each year on the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time — will be celebrated Nov. 14 this year and focuses on a verse, "The poor you will always have with you" (Mk 14:7).

In his message for the 2021 celebration, Pope Francis wrote: "We are called to discover Christ in them (the poor), to lend them our voice in their causes, but also to be their friends, to listen to them, to understand them and to welcome the mysterious wisdom that God wants to communicate to us through them."

The gathering in Assisi is being coordinated by the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization and We Are Fratello, a France-based Catholic organization that organizes days of prayer and other meetings for persons living in poverty.

As the Year of Mercy was ending in November 2016, Pope Francis told people he wanted to set one day aside each year to underline everyone's responsibility "to care for the true riches, which are the poor."

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021