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Pope Sleeping Bags Given to 400 of Rome's Homeless as Bday Gift

By    |   Friday, 19 Dec 2014 08:02 AM

Pope Francis celebrated his 78th birthday by giving away 400 sleeping bags to homeless people in Rome.

The pope ordered Konrad Krajewski, the archbishop who runs the pontiff's charity services, to lead the operation on the streets Rome, giving away sleeping bags with the papal ensign on them to whoever the Vatican found, the Vatican told Agence France-Presse on Thursday.

"This is a gift for you from the pope on the occasion of his birthday," said Swiss guards who assisted in the distribution of the papal sleeping bags. The bags were delivered by minibus roaming the city, according to the Vatican Insider.

"This is a gift for you, please pray for the Pope," said other volunteers giving away the sleeping bags. The minibus found homeless people in numerous locations, including the Campo Verano cemetery.

The Vatican gave away 300 bags initially and then distributed another 100 afterward, officials told AFP. The pope, from Argentina, has said in the past he wanted to make concerns for the poor one of the major themes of his time as leader of the Catholic church.

The Huffington Post reported that Pope Francis had ordered the Vatican to build showers for the homeless in St. Peter's Square in November and has been known to leave the Vatican dressed as a regular priest to minister to the homeless.

For his birthday, Pope Francis was serenaded by hundreds of couples who danced a mass tango at St. Peter's Square on Thursday. He was given a birthday cake and a popular Argentine drink. He also greeted pilgrims, including eight homeless people, who later had lunch with him, according to The Crux.

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Pope Francis celebrated his 78th birthday by giving away 400 sleeping bags to homeless people in Rome.
pope, sleeping, bags, rome, homeless
Friday, 19 Dec 2014 08:02 AM
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