- NICOLE WINFIELD
The Vatican newspaper is launching a new monthly edition dedicated to the poor and those on the margins, aiming not only to tell their stories but also to involve them in the production and distribution of the newspaper, the Vatican announced on Friday.
The first edition of L’Osservatore di Strada (The street watcher), a riff on the name of the official Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romanocomes out on June 29, a special Roman feast day dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul.
Pope Francis arrives to attend his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on Wednesday, June 22. PHOTO: AP Photo/Andrew Medichini/File Photo.
Going forward, the Vatican plans to distribute the publication on the first Sunday of the month following Pope Francis’ midday blessing in and around St. Peter’s Square, distributed by guests of a nearby homeless shelter run by a Catholic charity. Donations of any amount would be welcome, the Vatican communications office said in a statement.
The initiative is tangible proof of Francis’ desire to give voice and value to the experiences of often overlooked groups such as the poor, homeless and migrants and the voluntary organizations that help them. The aim is to involve them in writing and illustrating their own stories, with poetry, photography or other talents, and to empower them to do so, if need be.
“The Osservatore di Strada will not only be a newspaper of the poor and for the poor, it wants to be above all a newspaper with the poor,” the Vatican statement said.
The first edition features a design by street artist Maupal, whose graffiti art of Francis as “super pope” and subsequent iterations has adorned Vatican buildings for years.
L’Osservatore Romano has another monthly edition dedicated to women, called Women, Church, World.