By Vatican News
The Emmanuel Community in Lecce, southern Italy, is a non-profit organization that works with individuals and families in difficulty. The Organization also runs a treatment centre for drug addiction. Its motto is “Welcoming and Sharing”.
Doing and being
Pope Francis focused on these words when he met members of the Community in audience in the Vatican. He thanked them for all they have done in these almost 40 years, “for the welcome, the accompaniment, the work”. He also praised the Community for “always nourishing the ‘doing’ with the ‘being’”. This is important, he said, “otherwise you will become a welfare agency or a company”.
Faith in service
“Your community expresses an embodied faith in service”, said Pope Francis. “You started with a gesture of welcome… and you have continued to respond”. The most difficult thing is to persevere, to move forward, continued the Pope. “Being with Christ and being with your brothers and sisters in difficulty. This is the key”, he said.
Pope Francis stressed the name of the community: Emmanuel. “God-with-us”. Jesus is not just an idea, or an ideology, he continued. “He is God-with-us, who witnessed to the love of the Father by sharing our human condition to the full”.
Jesus is the source that ensures we never give up on joy, hope, and courage. He helps us continue our work with joy even when we struggle and feel tired. He guarantees we remain faithful to the original spirit of our vocation and mission.
The joy of the Gospel
Pope Francis concluded by thanking the Emmanuel Community for their visit, saying that, for him, “it is always a gift and a consolation to meet the communities that seek to live the joy of the Gospel”.