Sunday the 27th December was a red letter day for the Community of Sant‘Egidio. Pope ‘Benedict dined at the ‘Mensa’ in Via Dandolo
Shortly before Christmas Sr. Maelisa had been told that the Pope would join the Sant’Egidio guests (the name given to the poor) for a meal and was invited to be among those who would welcome the Pope. Sister was instructed to be at the ‘Mensa’ by noon on the 27th as the Pope was due to arrive shortly before 1pm.Sister Maelisa was given a special ticket to allow her to enter the ‘Mensa’.
Via Dandolo was closed to traffic from early morning, crowds of spectators lined the street. Children were very much in evidence and were positioned just outside the barriers. A large screen had been erected so those outside could follow what was taking place inside.
At 12.30 those privileged to dine with the Pope began to arrive, the physically and mentally disabled, the homeless and the destitute.
Some were in wheel chairs, some with walking aids, 120 in all. They were seated in one room with the Pope’s table at the top and six of the San ‘Egidio community sat with him at his table for the meal.
Several Church dignitaries, Cardinals, Bishops and those who serve regularly at table including, one of whom is Sr. Maelisa lined up to welcome the Pope.
Sister Maelisa was happy to have shaken hands with the Pope and to receive his blessing. It certainly was a day to remember for the San ‘Egidio community and their guests and indeed for the people of Trastevere who lined the street to extend a warm welcome the Pope Benedict.