Pope to raffle gifts given to him

Pope Francis is raffling off his gifts in order to raise money for the poor.

Pope Francis. Picture: EPA.

VATICAN CITY - Want a white Panama hat owned by the pope? Now is your chance.

Pope Francis is raffling off the Homero Ortega brand hat, a new four-wheel-drive Fiat Panda, bicycles, an espresso coffee machine, watches and other objects he has received as gifts in order to raise money for the poor.

A poster recently went up around the Vatican announcing the raffle of 13 objects as well as more than 30 unspecified "consolation prizes".

In the past, most gifts given to popes have either been quietly given away to missions, church institutions, or have gathered dust in a Vatican warehouse.

Francis, the first Latin American pope, has made concern for the poor one of the hallmarks of his papacy. He recently ordered shower stalls to be built around the Vatican so that homeless people in the area could wash up.

Tickets for the raffle cost €10 and the winners will be announced on 8 January 2015.