Vatican taking homeless to premier track and field competition

Vatican taking homeless to premier track and field competition

Vatican taking homeless to premier track and field competition

South African Caster Semenya runs to win the woman’s 1500 meter during the Qatar Diamond League in Doha, Qatar, Friday, May 4, 2018. (Credit: Kamran Jebreili/AP.)

The Vatican and the Italian Athletics Federation are teaming up to bring an estimated 250 homeless people, migrants and poor to watch the upcoming Golden Gala at Rome's Olympic Stadium.

ROME — The Vatican and the Italian Athletics Federation are teaming up to bring an estimated 250 homeless people, migrants and poor to watch the upcoming Golden Gala at Rome’s Olympic Stadium.

The Vatican said on Thursday the aim was to give the needy “an evening of festivities and friendship,” evidence of Pope Francis’s longstanding view that the poor don’t just need food and shelter, but gestures of friendship, solidarity and fun.

Volunteers from the Catholic charity Sant’Egidio and others will accompany the group next Thursday to the Diamond League meet. The Italian federation has set aside free seats for them in the ‘Curva Sud’ end of the Olympic Stadium, where the group will also be treated to a box dinner.

The Diamond League is an annual series of elite track and field athletic competitions, bringing together Olympic-level athletes from around the world.

Francis has previously treated the homeless to concerts, lunches, beach trips, and Vatican Museum tours.

These activities are organized by the office of the Papal Almoner, Polish Archbishop Konrad Krajewski. On May 20, Francis announced Krajewski would be made a cardinal on June 29.

Crux staff contributed to this report.

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