Pope Francis meeting the delegation of FOCSIV in the Vatican Pope Francis meeting the delegation of FOCSIV in the Vatican  (ANSA)

Pope: FOCSIV’s work helps build fraternity in conflictual world

Meeting some 150 members of the Federation of Christian Organizations for International Voluntary Service on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, Pope Francis praises the Italian charity for its valuable contribution to development and peace in a world that has grown accustomed to war and hunger.

By Lisa Zengarini

Pope Francis, on Monday, addressed the Federation of Christian Organizations for International Voluntary Service (FOCSIV), celebrating its 50th anniversary of foundation.

The network, which gathers 94 organizations committed to fighting poverty and promoting human dignity through development projects in over 80 countries, was founded in Italy in 1972.

A beautiful sign of fraternity in a broken world

In his prepared remarks that were handed over to the those present, Pope Francis thanked the Italian charity for its “valuable contribution” to the fight against all forms of poverty and marginalization,to the protection of human dignity and the development of local communities, which, he said, “shows that every little piece can build the great mosaic of fraternity”.

“You are a beautiful sign of the Mother Church which generates hope in a world that has grown accustomed to the scandals of hunger and wars. Your witness is a concrete response to those who no longer believe in a possible peace.”

Building the world together

The Pope also noted that FOCSIV’s motto - 'A world to be built together, respecting creation, in which each person can fulfill himself in full dignity!' - is “a very timely message in this historical moment” in which “the shadow of a Third World War hangs over the destiny of entire nations, with terrible consequences for people”.

Walking on the path of the Good Samaritan

Pope Francis then reflected on three objectives that characterize the organization, and should concern everyone: volunteering, peace, and integral development.

Noting that being a volunteer, is a “courageous sign of openness, towards our neighbour” based “on a deep-rooted attitude of solidarity” and fraternity, the Pope remarked that FOCSIV shows that “it is possible to be ‘all brothers’ by embracing every human being that the Lord places on the paths of our lives”, like the Good Samaritan did.

Promoting peace

The Holy Father then dwelled on the objective of peace, referring in particular to the ongoing war in Ukraine, as well as in many other parts of the globe.

“[For months we have seen images of destruction, of death. Peace in justice is a necessary condition for a dignified life, to build a better future together. ]”

He remarked that nurturing and sharing peace with those they serve is the most important "gift" that FOCSIV volunteers can bring with them, because "the world does not need empty words, but convinced witnesses and peacemakers open to dialogue."

Forced migration one of the great evils our era

Finally, the Pope focused on FOCSIV’s commitment for development to bring about a dignified life for everyone, emphasizing that only "the integral developmen of a person and of the context in which he or she lives”, allows the accomplishment of "a good life open to the future" at a personal and social level.

In this regard he highlighted that forced migration pushing millions of desperate men, women and children to face "inhumane journeys and all kinds of violence” to seek a better future, can be prevented only by ensuring a real development in every country.

Pope Francis, therefore, encouraged FOCSIV volunteers to go forward boldly in their mission of taking care of the most vulnerable, like the Good Samaritan, in the awareness that “we cannot be indifferent to suffering; we cannot allow anyone to go through life as an outcast.”

Fraternity vs "civilization of confrontation"

In his off-the-cuff address, Pope Francis insisted on the crucial importance of their voluntary service promoting the Christian value of human fraternity as opposed the “civilization of confrontation”, which has led to the current wars raging across the world. 

“Volunteering is a hymn to fraternity.”

27,000 volunteers

Since its foundation 50 years ago, FOCSIV has deployed some 27,000 volunteers and young people  across the world to carry out development projects in the social, health, agricultural, food, and educational fields. At the same time, the Federation promotes education campaigns and lobbying at institutional level in Italy to create awareness on social justice issues.

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14 November 2022, 12:25