Archbishop of Prague hosts Christmas lunch for homeless and refugees
Yesterday Cardinal Dominik Duka welcomed people who are homeless, impoverished, isolated and refugees to the Archbishop's Palace for a traditional Christmas lunch. Shared seating for 270 guests at the Christmas Day lunch was organized for the 15th year in a row by the lay Catholic movement Community of Sant'Egidio; the community organized Christmas lunches in 70 countries worldwide yesterday for a total of 200 000 impoverished and isolated people.
Dressed in his ceremonial red cardinal's gown, Archbishop Duka of Prague wished his guests a blessed and happy Christmas. He called on them to seek support in other people when facing life's disappointments.
"Look for support, that is also the message of Christmas, that one is not alone. The promise of the Messiah and the coming of Lord Jesus, gave us the basic rule 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you', and that is your enormous opportunity," Duka said.
The Archbishop emphasized that each of us must also do our best to stand on our own two feet. He blessed all of those at the tables and toasted them with a small glass of champagne.
Before the Archbishop's arrival, the guests sang the Christmas carols "Nesem vám noviny", "Pásli ovce valaši", and "Tichá noc" (Silent Night) with opera singer Markéta Mátlová. The singer said they created an angelic, beautiful choir.
Archbishop Duka then joined them for a song in Latin. He received thunderous applause.
One celebratory lunch was held in the Cardinal Beran Hall of the Archbishop's Palace on Hradčanské Square, while another was held in the hall of the Capucin Cloister on Loretánské Square. The traditional menu included soup with liver dumplings, a choice of sirloin of beef, roast duck or chicken with sauerkraut and dumplings, and Christmas cookies and fruit for dessert.
Each guest received a Christmas present such as a coat, socks, or a warm scarf and everyone received personal hygiene supplies. The guests were tended to by around 60 volunteers, some who served the food, others who sat at the festively laid tables together with the guests.
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