Pope to Caritas Spain: New realities require care for people in poverty
By Benedict Mayaki, SJ
Pope Francis has applauded the work of Caritas Spain and urged the Church's humanitarian arm to persevere in its service to those in need, as the organization celebrates its 75th anniversary this year.
“On the occasion of the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the founding of Cáritas Española, I wish to send you and all the members of that Institution my cordial greetings,” said Pope Francis in a letter addressed to Manuel Bretón Romero, President of Caritas Spain.
Holding up the motto for the celebration: “75 years of love for others,” Pope Francis said that “it is a service that continues in the present and opens to the future with hope, knowing how to see the face of Christ crucified in so many people who suffer, offering them friendship, help and consolation.”
The Pope invited Caritas to celebrate the Jubilee as a propitious occasion to thank the Lord, and to discern the paths for this new stage with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Pope Francis, in the letter, indicated three characteristics that “cannot be missing” in Caritas’ itinerary of discernment, starting with keeping in mind that the charity organization’s journey is a “journey of the least.”
“The poor and the excluded are the privileged recipients of the Gospel; they occupy a preferential place in the heart of God, to the point that he himself became poor,” said the Pope, stressing, that we “cannot wait for them to knock on our door, but we must go out to meet them, seek their good and their full development, recognizing their dignity and their rights.”
The Holy Father also noted that Caritas’ journey is a “path of mercy” in the style of God. Thus, to follow this path, “an attitude of continual conversion and configuration to Christ is necessary.”
“Only to the extent that we make their sentiments and attitudes our own, will our charity be more active and effective,” he affirmed.
Thirdly, the Pope encouraged Caritas Spain to set upon a “path of renewal” because “the new realities of poverty require that we care for both people and our common home.” He added that we should also be “ready to walk the paths of the culture of encounter and charity, articulating the local with the global, working from those close to us, but with a universal horizon.”
Persevere in service
In conclusion, Pope Francis encouraged Caritas Spain to "persevere with joy and determination in the activities and projects that they carry out in the Spanish dioceses, and which extend beyond territorial borders in favor of so many brothers and sisters who need our closeness, love and solidarity."