Christmas Lunch 2021

When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your kinsmen or rich neighbours, lest they also invite you in return, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the aimed, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.

Luke, 14, 12-14

The Christmas Lunch with the poor is a tradition of the Community of Sant’Egidio since 1982 when a small group of poor people was welcomed at the banquet table in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere. There were about 20 people invited: some of our elderly friends from the neighborhood and some homeless people we had got to know from the streets of Rome.

More than 40 years have passed since that first Christmas lunch. From that moment on, the banquet table has become larger and larger, and from Trastevere it has reached many parts of the world. The Christmas lunch has truly become a worldwide Feast. The feast has widened year after year, like a beneficial contagion, and has reached many countries of the South of the world. In 2018, about 240,000 people gathered for the Christmas lunch in more than 600 cities and 78 countries of the world.

The Christmas feast takes place everywhere, but above all where there is sorrow. In churches, in institutions for the elderly, for children, for handicapped people, in prisons, at hospitals, and also in the streets. Because the sense of Christmas is to bring the feast also to the darkest and coldest corners as well as to the most dispersed and forgotten places.

The Christmas Miracle

Smiling Faces

The miracle of the smiling faces of many exhausted people, the miracle of seemingly non-existent resources, which yet can be found.

Asking Everyone for Help

Asking everybody for help – friends, colleagues, shop owners, people in the street – enables the Community to find all the goods to set this great table of friendship every year.

Everyone Together

The miracle is also the fact that members of all religions can find their place at this feast, helping and being helped at the same time, all their hearts believing in the world salvation through faith, peace and harmony among human beings.

In response to the continued risk of COVID-19, this year we will be having both an indoor Christmas Lunch and distributing food on the street to our friends who are not able to join us indoors. No matter what the circumstances, we are committed to sharing Christmas with everyone.

We could use your help!

If you would like to help prepare food or donate with your time please email us at and we will be happy to provide you with more details.