By Lydia O’Kane
The Franciscan Mission Centre is a development charity which arose from parish activities in the German district of Bonn-Bad Godesber in 1969.
It runs projects in Africa, Asia, Oceania, Latin America as well as in Eastern Europe, focusing on humanitarian development, social and pastoral projects, and on education, information and human rights.
Most recently, the charity has been providing emergency aid for Mozambique following Cyclone Idai.
Addressing members of the Franciscan foundation in the Vatican on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, Pope Francis told them, “It is beautiful that you, as a community of religious friars and committed lay faithful, turn to all people of good will to motivate them to help the needy and marginalized throughout the world to achieve a better future.”
Example of St Francis of Assisi
The Pope noted that they were a true example of St Francis of Assisi, “who wanted to live poor and let himself be touched by the poverty of people.”
In this way, the Pope explained, “he found the peace of Christ and he himself became one who lived by the gifts of Providence.”
“In this spirit, your missionary centre with its modest origins, was able to weave a worldwide network of charity, solidarity and fraternity”, he said.
The Pontiff went on to say that this Saint of Assisi heard Jesus' request: "Francis, go and repair my house which, as you can see, is falling into ruins".
“He, despite all the experiences of the limitations of the Church of the time”, underlined Pope Francis, “set out to live the Gospel in an authentic way.”
Noting that even today people sometimes suffer due to the limitations of the Church, the Pope said that it is, “precisely in the face of current challenges we want to commit ourselves more to a better future for all. And to this end your Missionary Centre will be able to continue to make its precious contribution.”
Concluding his address, Pope Francis invited those present to persevere in their commitment for the good of all people and for the protection of creation.