Card. Czerny to Caritas Cambodia: listen to cry of the poor, which is God’s cry

In a video message to participants in a spiritual retreat organized by Caritas Cambodia, the ad interim Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development urges them on the path of care and fraternity.

By Robin Gomes

A Vatican official has commended Caritas Cambodia for making a serious effort to walk the path of fraternity and care for the creation, as indicated by Pope Francis in his two encyclicals, Laudato si and Fratelli tutti.  “As Fratelli tutti reminds us, ‘For us the wellspring of human dignity and fraternity is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ’”, said Cardinal Michael in a video message to participants in a 2-day spiritual retreat organized by Caritas Cambodia in Phnom Penh. 


“From it, there arises, ‘for Christian thought and for the action of the Church, the primacy given to relationship, to the encounter with the sacred mystery of the other, to universal communion with the entire human family, as a vocation of all’”, said he Jesuit cardinal, who is ad interim Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

The theme of the 16-17 retreat, “Together in promoting a culture of care and fraternity”, the cardinal said is very much linked to the message of the encyclicals Laudato si and Fratelli tutti, since both call for the care of creation and a new approach to human relationships, based on fraternity. 

In this regard, he shared with them 3 reflections using the analogy of rice, which, he said, was an important part of their life and culture, such as in songs and traditional dances.

Promise of a future

The first thought was about sowing seeds, which need to be watered because of the future promise that they hold in them. 

In the same way, foundations need further development.  Cardinal Czerny said, “We work together in the field sowing seeds for the future, we strive to transform the present with the seeds of solidarity, peace and justice towards a future with hope.”  He wished that Caritas continues “sowing these seeds of justice and peace”, keeping their hope alive and being open in order to share it with others through joyful communication.

Joy of God

The second reflection was about the joy of growth. The Vatican official wished that the joy of God enter their lives, in whatever they do.  They should keep this joy alive by being connected to God, like the vine and branches, as Jesus says.  If we abide in Christ and He abides in us, this joy will accompany the process of growing and accompanying others. “My wish is for you to live in this attitude of joy, kindness and tenderness,” Cardinal Czerny urged.

A new humanity

Thirdly, he spoke about the harvest.  He said it is the new humanity we strive to build, a world of peace and justice, the magnificent enterprise of God’s work, a tiny fraction of which we manage to accomplish in our lifetime.  This is the difference between the master builder, God, and we the workers, who are ministers and prophets of a future that is not our own.

Everything is connected

Cardinal Czerny reminded Caritas workers that they are just collaborators, a small portion of a wider effort, which is fundamental because everything is connected, and good relationships are the basic component of the construction.

Reminding the retreatants that no one walks this journey alone, he urged them to look beyond the dull narratives, which too often are bad news, and “listen to the cry of the poor, which is the cry of God, the narrative of the weak”. “The poor you accompany are a source of concern but also of life, creativity and good news. Listen to them and celebrate the good news, share the stories, grow together with them,” Cardinal Czerny exhorted them.

16 February 2022, 05:00