Pope Expected to Lunch With Gay, HIV Positive and Transgender Prisoners

The inmates reportedly won their spot in a special raffle.

The Italian news site Vatican Insider reported the pontiff will lunch with about 90 prisoners, including 10 from a prison ward that houses those inmates. The report said the prisoners won their spot in a special raffle.

The visit and luncheon echo one of the central messages of Francis’ papacy. "Do not be afraid to go and to bring Christ into every area of life, to the fringes of society, even to those who seem farthest away, most indifferent," Francis said in 2013.

Francis, Vatican watchers say, continues to reach out to groups who previously felt judged or disenfranchised by the Church.

In February, the Vatican installed bathrooms and showers for the homeless in St. Peter’s Square last month.

Coming back from a gathering in 2013, the pope spoke about homosexuality to reporters. "If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them? They shouldn’t be marginalized. The tendency [to homosexuality] is not the problem…they’re our brothers."