Christmas lunch for those in need served at Prague's Archbishop's Palace

Organized by the Czech branch of the Sant'Egidio Community, around 200 people in need enjoyed a traditional Christmas lunch by Prague Castle. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 25.12.2023 16:23:00 (updated on 25.12.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Christmas holidays continue in the Czech Republic today, but not everyone has a family to celebrate with. In a show of compassion for those in need, the Czech branch of the Community of Sant'Egidio, a global initiative from the Catholic Church, organized a Christmas lunch at Prague's Archbishop's Palace this afternoon.

This annual event, now celebrated for 25 years, extended the warmth of Christmas to approximately 200 individuals on the margins of society – the homeless, elderly, refugees, and the disabled. This year's lunch took on added significance given recent tragic events in Prague.

"The purpose of this Christmas lunch is to live a real Christmas," Kristina Koldinská, a representative of Sant'Egidio, told Czech News Agency.

"This year, unfortunately, the sense of the great pain that our country is carrying at the moment has been added to that meaning. Our effort today, even more than ever, is to heal wounds, to soothe pain, and to give hope."

Prague Archbishop Jan Graubner, in inaugurating the event, emphasized the importance of infusing love into spaces, making them more than just physical locations. He also noted the recent tragedy, emphasizing the tangible reality of evil and underscoring the need to combat it with compassion and care.

"We make space available, but that space would be cold and empty if someone didn't bring love into it, which also has hands that can do something," Graubner said, thanking the Sant'Egidio community for their work throughout the year.

"We have been hit with shock in the past few days, but I think this reminds us of a powerful thing. Evil is not just some theoretical thing somewhere, or in fairy tales or horror movies. Evil is quite real, concrete, and when you give it room in your heart, it can do terrible damage."

The Christmas lunch featured a menu of Czech classics, including soup with liver dumplings, roast duck with cabbage and dumplings, and schnitzel with potato salad. The festive spread also included Christmas cookies, cake, and fruit, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. Each guest also received a Christmas present, fostering a sense of joy and inclusion.

This year, the Sant'Egidio community received a sponsorship gift of a hundred high-quality sleeping bags, crucial for those enduring life on the streets. Koldinská emphasized the practicality and life-saving impact of such gifts, especially for those without shelter.

A team of around 80 volunteers contributed to today's lunch, with roles ranging from kitchen duties to fostering a familial atmosphere at tables. Beyond this event, the Community of Sant'Egidio plans to extend its initiatives by hosting a Christmas luncheon for Ukrainian refugees on Orthodox Christmas Day.

Founded in 1968 in Rome, the Community of Sant'Egidio has been active in the Czech Republic since 1993, operating in Prague, Brno, and Olomouc. Its focus spans aiding the homeless as well as supporting children and the elderly.

Would you like us to write about your business? Find out more