Pope Francis brought 15,000 ice creams to inmates in Rome’s two prisons during one of the hottest summers on record in Italy, according to the Vatican.
The ice cream was taken to the two jails, the historic Regina Coeli cell on the Tiber River in the city’s center, and the contemporary Rebibbia prison on the outskirts, according to a statement from the Pope’s charity office.
In the searing heat of the Italian summer, the Holy Father distributed ice cream through the pontiff’s charitable office. Despite the fact that the pontiff did not personally distribute the treats, his “pope’s almoner,” Polish Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, did on his behalf.
Since Francis’ election in 2013, Krajewski, who is one of the youngest cardinals at 57, has set up medical and bathing facilities for the homeless near the Vatican on Francis’ orders. The summer in Italy was one of the warmest on record, with one city in Sicily hitting 49 degrees Celsius in August, considered to be Europe’s highest temperature ever.
During the summer, Krajewski’s office also donated USD 600,000 CT scan equipment to a health institution in Madagascar, as well as roughly 2 million euros (USD 2.37 million) in funds to develop medical facilities in three unspecified African countries, according to the statement.
The Vatican declared in a statement that the pope’s charity office “did not go on vacation” this summer. Instead, volunteers from the Vatican spent their time “continue to devote themselves, among other things, to two of the seven works of mercy: visiting prisons and consoling the bereaved.” According to the statement, the donation was one of several “little evangelical gestures” done during the summer “to support and provide hope to thousands of inmates in Rome’s prisons.”
Small groups of homeless individuals were also taken by the Vatican’s charity agency “to the sea or the lake… for an afternoon of relaxation and dinner at a pizza.”
Furthermore, the foundation has supplied free Covid-19 tests and immunizations to Rome’s homeless and poor.