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The Parish of St. Francis Xavier of Caparica (Almada, Portugal) solemnized the World Day of the Poor, celebrated for the first time on November 19, at the initiative of Pope Francis.

To mark this day, a special call was made for participation in the Sunday Mass of 11.30 and an invitation to various groups with links to the community. The church turned out to be small for all who wanted to attend. At the end of the Mass, there was a shared lunch attended by hundreds of people.

Following the Pope's decision to create a World Day of the Poor, the provincial of the Jesuits in Portugal challenged the communities associated with the Society of Jesus to participate a significant way to this day. 

Careful preparation for the Mass was a special call for participation in the liturgical celebration and for the invitation to members of different groups linked to the Society of Jesus who collaborate in the pastoral activity of the parish. In this way, members of the Christian Life Community (CLC), young people from the Gambozinos association and members of the NGO Laity for Development, joined the parishioners. The Padre Amadeu Pinto Youth Center and the Parish Social Center were also involved in a special way in this celebration.

The Eucharist was animated by the choir of the youth group and totally filled the church, whose assembly can pray inspired by African songs. Following the tradition of some African countries, at the offertory, foodstuffs were brought to the altar to be donated to families with the most needs.

Following the Eucharist followed a shared lunch in the courtyard of the parish. Decorated with works developed by some children from phrases from the message of Pope Francis for World Day of the Poor, the space was filled with a festive tone. Of all the delicacies, the Cape Verdean cachupa, the Portuguese feijoada and the cake prepared by the teenagers of the Padre Amadeu Pinto Juvenile Center stood out.

At the end of the lunch, it was possible to visit the facilities of the Center, where about 100 children a day pass, being assisted in their school tasks and participating in play and sports activities that contribute to their integral development.

It was a day marked by the joy that contributed to foment the culture of  encouenter desired by Pope Francis. In a simple way and in an atmosphere of reciprocity and sharing, people came from different backgrounds to share the Eucharist, the table and life.

This was only one of the initiatives of the Portuguese Jesuit Province to celebrate this day. Other initiatives were: a Special edition of the Cultural Magazine Brotéria; a common prayer for all Jesuit communities; a video to share within social networks; a special edition of the Passo a Rezar (Portuguese version of Pray as you Go); role-plays in Jesuit schools, etc.

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