Pope Francis is sending a statue of St Joseph to be auctioned at a charity auction organised by Hungarian public media in support of Hungarian orphans who have lost parents to the coronavirus pandemic, Beatrix Siklósi, the director of public broadcaster Kossuth Rádió, said on Sunday.
The statue depicts St Joseph teaching carpentry to the Christ Child, she said.
First Lady Anita Herczegh, the chairwoman of the board of the Regőczi Foundation for children orphaned in the pandemic, noted that the foundation was launched last spring when the number of young parents started succumbing to Covid.
By the start of the charity programme broadcast on the Duna, Duna World, M5 and M4 Sport channels on Sunday morning, the campaign had already collected close to 100 million forints (€ 272,000), Siklósi said.
Various celebrities such as Olympic fencer Áron Szilágyi and epee fencer Tímea Nagy are participating, she said.
On Sunday, more than 304 million forints (€ 845,000) was donated to the campaign, with both national bus carrier Volánbusz and national rail operator MÁV having made contributions.
Róbert Homolya, MÁV’s president and chief executive, said the pandemic had taken a great toll on the company and many of its 56,000 employees, some who had passed away were parents.
Bids for items were up until 10pm, but donation lines are open until the end of the year.