The 23rd of April is St George’s Day and the Pope’s real name is Jorge (Spanish for George). He marked his name day by giving 3000 ice creams to Rome’s homeless and poor. The distributions were at soup kitchens and homeless shelters and given that the temperatures in the city have been very high this week, the gift must have been very welcome.
Handing out free ice cream is an interesting way to celebrate St. George’s Day. That’s very cool of Pope Francis though. I’m not surprised, he seems like a really cool guy. I’m sure the recipients enjoyed the unexpected treat. It must be a lot hotter there than it is here.
Feasts of Patron Saints
It’s a nice gesture given that he didn’t have to do it. It would have been great if another organization teamed up with the pope and something more could have done for the poor and the homeless. Ice cream is nice, but in addition to that maybe something more substantial could have been given out, like small gift cards for the family. Granted it would have been a huge undertaking, but gift cards would also last a bit longer than ice cream.
I agree @Melii that something a bit longer lasting might have been better in some way. But I’m also assuming that the soup kitchens and night shelters give the basics on a daily basis. The gesture to give something insubstantial and lighthearted gives more than just an ice-cream. It gives something of the spirit of fun and holiday and family-feeling, and maybe reminiscence of childhood. I imagine that the gesture brought people together in a more relaxed way and provoked conversations they might not normally have had with each other and elicited few smiles which would have added to the feelgood factor. What an endorphin rush!
I think it’s a lovely gesture - and (call me a heathen!) - probably much more appreciated than a prayer and a blessing. The Pope got it right on this occasion for me.
@Melii He’s already done so much. Last year he created a new Catholic observance called “World Day of the Poor.” After Mass that day (11/19/17), he fed over 4,000 needy people. The week before, they had a mobile clinic in front of St. Peter’s Square offering free medical services. You can read more about it here. I think providing free medical services is about as substantial of a gift as you can give.
@Pearl It might be more appreciated than a blessing but some people travel across the world to get a blessing from him. Of course, the free medical services that @Francine mentioned (which I didn’t know about) are probably the better gift. That’s great that they were offering them for an entire week.
@Francine Free medical services are okay, but for someone who is homeless and living in a shelter, providing a home for them would be the most substantial gift one could give. There are so many vacant places around, even in Italy. I would love to see the powers-that-be get together and turn these vacant and abandoned buildings into some type of permanent housing.
@Chantal Yes, you’re right, shelters and soup kitchens give the basics. Ice-cream is all well and good, but I think that sometimes people forget that a homeless person needs a home, not a few smiles. It might make the people giving the ice-cream feel great, like they’ve done a world of good, but homeless people have real, serious life or death issues going on.
People who give a little something to the poor always feel good about it, but after those smiles fade they go home to their warm houses, the homeless do not and are still in great, dire need the next day.
I’ve always admired Pope and what he’s been doing so far. Even though he is such a powerful and influential person, he still remains humble and tries to live a simple life. And as mentioned, he is a giver. May God bless him.
That was sweet of the pope to do, and I think ice cream is something that nearly everyone enjoys so I think it was a good choice. Also, it is getting warm in most places in the world. It is so nice.
I feel like our Pope is very in tune with real people - and I really appreciate that about him. He seems to genuinely care, but I do hope that at the end of the day more is done than just giving out ice cream. At the end of the day, importance should be placed on trying to find these people permanent roofs over their heads.
I know, right? Free ice cream is one of the best surprises anyone can give. You put something all of us love and give it for free and you have this. Is it just me or does free ice cream taste so much better because it’s free?
That’s very nice of the Pope. It’s very unusual to give ice creams as gifts and it shows that he is somehow playful and cheerful because of the choice of his gift. It is also timely that he decide to give a good summer treat when the temperature is warm.
Amazing !! Distributing ice creams… that’s a thing that has never happened at my place. The Pope looks like an interesting guy. But the problem is… I don’t know much about Italy, so I don’t know what a Pope is. Is Pope a person who do social work for the welfare of the people ??