Pope Francis: Real revolution means raising up the vulnerable
By Vatican News staff reporter
The Agata Smeralda Association is a project that operates in the Brazilian favelas, and elsewhere in the world, and aims to help street children. There are at least 10,000 children in Brazil who are welcomed by missionaries and laypeople in 160 shelters located in Salvador di Bahia in the northeast of the country.
Thanks to the support of "long-distance adoption”, these children can benefit from adequate health care and have access to education. The project is also aided by the Italian City of Florence which gives support to the Family Shelter for single mothers at Itapúa.
Need for fatherhood
Addressing members of the Association, Pope Francis stressed that there is “so much need for fatherhood and tenderness.” He recalled one of his catecheses dedicated to St Joseph, which touched on the subject of the adoption of children.
“I praised and encouraged spouses who open their hearts and homes to welcome a boy or girl who has no family. In a similar way, this sensitivity, this openness, this fatherhood and motherhood are also the basis of your commitment,” he said.
Pope Francis went on to say that those who choose long-distance adoption are motivated by the desire “to give a hand to a child so that he or she feels loved, so that he or she does not lack the necessary things, so that he or she can grow up well.”
Spreading God’s tenderness
Paying tribute to the Association’s work, the Pope said, “you cooperate in spreading God's tenderness in the world, his paternity, which is the great gift that Jesus gave us.”
Pope Francis noted that well-prepared, well-monitored, well-accompanied, long-distance adoption gives the young and the poor a chance to live a dignified life.
The quiet revolution
“It is a small seed of the Kingdom of God, which grows and bears fruit to the extent that it is cultivated with love,” he added.
Drawing his address to a close, the Pope thanked the many lay people, nuns and priests who work in the peripheries of the world, and invited them “Go forward, with God's grace.”