By Ferruccio Ferrante, communications officer with Caritas Italy

“Wherever you go, you’ll find Caritas” was the name of Caritas Italy’s conference which looked at issues surrounding migrants, young people, families, people facing life alone and those suffering from addictions.

Over 600 people from 161 diocesan Caritas brought with them their own experiences of working with Caritas in Italy and went away having shared and gained greater knowledge and hope.

In this time of difficulty when the crisis increases its grip, Caritas is by people’s side all over Italy. In the first six months of 2012, requests for help from Caritas increased by 44.5% compared to the previous year. Caritas finds itself with a great responsibility: how to continue to accompany people in their difficulties. It’s a responsibility that can’t be passed over to someone else because each of us must be a champion of change for the common good.

But how can we do this? Some ideas to come out of Caritas Italy’s conference were: organising flash mobs, responsible consumption and saving and ethical buying.

Forty-six percent of global consumers are willing to pay more for products and services from companies which have launched social responsibility programmes. It’s something to think about.

“Raise awareness among the professionals and give professional skills to those who are open” is another  concept from the conference which shows the way for concrete action.

We can’t just stand by and watch. There is need here and now, a need for “witnesses to humanity” and for a faith which is put into action. We need a world which is more supportive and welcoming.

Caritas Italy’s conference ended last week but thanks to the commitment of many people from the four corners of Italy, the work is still going on.