Pope Francis will have lunch Saturday with 90 inmates at a prison near Naples, Italy, including 10 from a unit reserved for gay, transgender, and HIV-positive people, reports Religion News Service.
The pope requested the lunch, which was not originally on his schedule for the trip to Naples. “Francis has made an outreach to detainees a signature part of his ministry to the ‘marginalized,’” the news service notes. He intends to take time to meet with each prisoner individually.
The lunch will take place at the Giuseppe Salvia Detention Center in Poggioreale. Some of the attendees will come from two other nearby prisons, RNS reports. The 90 were chosen by lottery from among 1,900 inmates.
Continuing his ministry to prisoners, Pope Francis plans to was the feet of inmates at a prison near Rome on Holy Thursday, April 2, as he did shortly after his election, RNS notes. This commemorates Jesus washing the feet of his apostles on the night before his crucifixion.
Francis’s tenure as pope has also been notable for his adoption of a more conciliatory tone toward LGBT people than that of his predecessors, although he has also made some less positive statements — for instance, criticizing nontraditional family structures and the concept of gender fluidity. And his papacy has seen no policy changes on LGBT issues.