Pope Francis greeting Sister Sister Norma Pimentel during his audience with the delegation of the "Catholic Extension Society" Pope Francis greeting Sister Sister Norma Pimentel during his audience with the delegation of the "Catholic Extension Society"  (Vatican Media)

Pope: Proximity to the most vulnerable is God's 'style'

Pope Francis meets with a delegation of the "Catholic Extension Society" and commends its work for the poor and most vulnerable and for its precious contribution to the reconstruction of Puerto Rico.

By Lisa Zengarini

Pope Francis on Wednesday greeted the members of the U.S.-based Catholic Extension Society who have gathered this week in Rome.  

The papal organization was founded over a century ago in Michigan and is engaged in providing assistance to missionary dioceses, especially in the United States, and in caring for the needs of the poor and most vulnerable.

Welcoming the delegation accompanied by Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, Pope Francis thanked the Catholic Extension Society for its ongoing commitment and also for its “precious contribution”, both at the ecclesial and civil levels, to the reconstruction of Puerto Rico, following the hurricanes and earthquakes which have devastated the island in recent years.  

Care for victims of 'throwaway culture'

“In giving a voice to those who are often voiceless you bear witness to the dignity granted by God to every person”, said the Pope, praising the organization for putting the “care in placing those who are often victims of today’s ‘throwaway culture’ at the centre of the pastoral action of the Church. In this way", he noted, “their voice can be heard and society as a whole can benefit”.

“Listening and including the experiences and perspectives of all, especially those who find themselves at the margins of society, enriches life and the ecclesial ministry, because the Church is like a large tapestry, made up of lots of individual threads that come from different peoples, languages and cultures, but are woven into unity by the Holy Spirit.”

Sr Norma Pimentel

In his address, Pope Francis congratulated Sister Norma Pimentel of the Missionaries of Jesus, the winner of the 2023 Catholic Extension Spirit of Francis Award, for her work with refugees and immigrants to the United States.

The award recognizes an individual or group who has made a significant impact on the mission of the Catholic Church in America through service or philanthropy.

Born from Mexican parents who immigrated to Texas, Sister Pimentel has gained international attention for her work for migrants and for speaking out against US migration policies.  

Concluding his address, Pope Francis encouraged the Catholic Extension Society to continue to express “God’s style” in its work

“God’s style is never distant, detached or indifferent. On the contrary, it is a style of proximity, compassion and tenderness.”

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26 April 2023, 13:59