"YOU ARE IN THE POPE'S HEART," JOHN PAUL TELLS THE POOR
VATICAN CITY, JUN 15, 2000 (VIS) - Pope John Paul, joined by a number of cardinals and
bishops, had lunch today in the atrium of the Paul VI Hall with 200 poor and homeless people.
He told them that "among the many Jubilee appointments this one today is surely the most
heart-felt and meaningful. I wished to meet you and to share this meal with you to tell you that
you are in the Pope's heart. With great affection I embrace each of you, friends who are very
dear to me."
"Certainly the time that I will spend with you is very brief," said the Holy Father, "but I assure
you that every day I follow you with affection and prayer. As I look at you, one by one, I think
of how many others, in Rome as in every part of the world, are going through moments of trials
and difficulties. I would like to approach each one to tell them: Don't feel alone, because God
loves you. The Pope loves you, dear brothers and sisters, and with him the entire Church opens
her arms to you in welcome and fraternity."
John Paul II then remarked that "our lunch, in its simplicity, represents a meaningful preparation"
for the International Eucharistic Congress which opens in Rome on June 18 and which "is the
heart of the Jubilee Year." He said "today we find ourselves around the material table; together,
and in greater numbers, next week we will approach the spiritual table, the banquet of the
Eucharist, to celebrate God's love which makes us brothers who feel solidarity for each other."
He concluded by thanking the guests for their presence, the people who organized and cooked
today's meal and those who provided entertainment.