Pope Francis Gave Out Free Ice Cream in Rome Yesterday
About 3,000 dairy treats went out to Rome's needy in honor of St. George's Day.
Over the course of his now five-year tenure, Pope Francis has earned a reputation as possibly the coolest pope of all time. (No offense to Benedict IX who apparently lived a life of such debauchery that he got the boot from being pope on two separate occasions.) In the food world alone, Francis has pulled such hip moves as referring to a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle as "very good bourbon," allowing tourists to start getting grub from his private organic garden, approving his own Vatican cookbook, requesting a specially made blend of coffee to drink during his visit to the United States, and describing a wedding without wine as "shameful."
But yesterday, in honor of St. George's Day – which the Vatican celebrates in honor of the Pope's birth name, Jorge Mario Bergoglio – Francis decided to up the awesomeness ante with a move that's been sending excited kids running down the block for generations: He went into ice cream man mode.
The Office of Papal Charities said it was giving out about 3,000 ice creams in Pope Francis's name to needy residents who seek regular assistance in Rome's soup kitchens, homeless shelters and other facilities, most of which are run by Catholic charities. Indeed, photos taken yesterday show charity workers handing out prepackaged ice cream treats like bars and wrapped cones, while others show a soup kitchen giving away cups of mixed vanilla and chocolate gelato along with the usual meals.
Sadly, it doesn't appear as if the pope was handing out the treats himself or – potentially better yet – driving around in some sort of hybrid popemobile/ice cream truck. Still, as Newsweek points out, ice cream served as more than just a sweet gesture: Temperatures in Rome have been unseasonably warm recently, meaning those charitable ice creams will also help keep everyone cool. Not as figuratively as cool as the pope, of course, but literally cool nonetheless.