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Pope Francis’s ‘work’ fund to help needy Muslims in Rome

Muhammad UsmanMultimedia Journalist

10th Jun, 2020. 04:46 pm
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Pope Francis’ €1 million ($1.13 million) ‘Work Dignity” fund will also include the needy Muslims in Rome to help them during the coronavirus pandemic. 

According to details, the Caritas charity – the Roman Catholic Church’s relief agency – will receive initial funding to support all those people who are struggling due to the economic crisis because of the coronavirus lockdown and do not qualify for the Italian government’s help.

Rev. Pasquale Marano, a priest who runs a soup kitchen in Rome’s San Giovanni area said,

“Of course, part of this fund will go to needy Muslims living in Rome.” 

The pope said in a letter to Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, vicar general of the Rome diocese that the fund’s aim is to support all those who have lost their livelihood because of the ongoing pandemic, no matter from which religion they belong to.

Marano said,

“So many Muslims in Rome have lost their jobs and most of their income during this difficult period. We are talking about people who need to support their families and who would not qualify for state aid because they do not have a permanent job.”

He continued saying that,

“The charity has no religion. It is just charity. With the pope’s fund, we will try to help them, too. Muslims have been helping needy Christians all over Italy during Ramadan without asking about their religion.” 

Due to the current lockdown, Marano said he had witnessed an increase in the number of homeless people visiting the soup kitchen in recent months. Every new person who comes to the soup kitchen had jobs-  especially waiters or kitchen staff – before the lockdown. Most of them came from Morocco, Tunisia, Bangladesh, and even from Pakistan, said Marano.

The former head of the Vatican Council for Communication, Monsignor Claudio Celli said,

“Restaurants have been closed during the lockdown, and when they finally reopened they were not hiring because the business has been poor. We know many Muslims who have been asking for help from Caritas and the parish churches in Rome. Caritas will be happy to keep helping them all.”

He said that the fund is for

“those who risk being excluded from institutional protection and who need support until they can walk again unaccompanied.”

Daily and part-time workers, interns, sole proprietors. self-employed and those who ran small businesses are those who need financial help, said Celli.

“Many are fathers and mothers who struggle to provide food for their children and make sure they receive the bare minimum,” he added. “The pontiff does not mention Muslims, in particular, for the simple reason that religion is not a requisite,” said Celli.

Pope Francis asked people to donate as much as they can and contribute to the  €1 million work fund for people in help. He called on all citizens to share generously and urged priests “to be the first to contribute” and to become “enthusiastic supporters of sharing” in their communities.

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