The World Day of the Poor was first observed on 19 November 2017, with the theme, "Let us love, not with words but with deeds".
 In his message for that first World Day of the Poor, Pope Francis said that "the
Our Father is the prayer of the poor".
 He held a special Mass in
St. Peter’s Basilica, followed by a free lunch in the adjacent Paul VI Hall, in several Catholic colleges, and in other
Vatican venues. During the week preceding the World Day of the Poor, free specialized medical services were offered at a mobile clinic.
The day was also observed in other countries, including
 with special Masses, free meals for the poor, and other initiatives.
In India, the
Oswald Gracias, launched an "ACTS" (Actively Called to Serve) project, which involved distributing bags to parishes, in which people could donate food (e.g., grain or sugar) and toiletries for the poor. Cardinal Gracias said that “Our Lord gave us the striking example of simplicity and poverty in His own life. He taught His disciples to value poverty.”
In some Polish cities, the day was preceded by a "Week of the Poor", when some Catholics prayed for those in need and organized various forms of aid for them. In
Kraków, the services of a beautician and hairdresser were offered to the less fortunate, as were culinary, theatrical, and musical workshops.
Poznań, film showings and meetings were organized at centers for the poor or
homeless, while at a "help bus" they could receive a warm
In Canada, the Archbishop of
Vancouver, J. Michael Miller, initiated a 4-day email prayer campaign for those in need, and encouraged conversations with the homeless, donations,
charitable help, visits to the
sick and to
prisoners, consolation of the
bereaved, and the giving of
alms to the poor.