The world comes to Rome
23 July 2012
It took Sr Senolita Vakata two days to come to Rome from Tonga in the Pacific Ocean for the Caritas Internationalis General Assembly. Her return journey began after just seven days in the Italian capital.
Caritas General Assembly
“I wake up at 3am every morning because of jet lag, but it’s worth it. I feel as though I’m part of the family,” she said. Sr Senolita was just one of the 300 delegates from 160 countries at the General Assembly.
Dr Benedict Alo D’Rozario from Bangladesh said, “ The General Assembly is a great forum for sharing resources. Caritas Bangladesh is here to offer its experiences as well as to learn from others; for example, our president will talk about our successful climate change projects.”
One of the Caritas confederation’s primary characteristics is its unity in diversity. The unity comes in many forms, such as solidarity in emergencies, collaboration on advocacy campaigns and in the spirit that runs through Caritas’ work. The assembly is vital for strengthening this unity among member organisations.
Msgr Carmel Farruggia from Caritas Malta explained why this is so important. “Coming from such a small country, the General Assembly gives me the opportunity to connect and share ideas with bigger members,” he said.
Gilio Brunelli from Development and Peace (the Canadian member of Caritas) gave the perspective of a much bigger organisation and yet echoed Msgr Farruggia’s thoughts.
“ This is my fourth General Assembly,” he said. “It’s the chance to meet the directors of organisations we work with around the world. This makes working with them when there is suddenly an emergency much easier as we’ll have already built the beginnings of a relationship here.”
Peter Maduki from Caritas Tanzania said, “ This opportunity to come together is very important as we look at what has gone well and not so well. We always take away with us the suggestions to improve the strategic framework for the next four years. People are sharing their concerns and we need these opportunities to transfer knowledge and skills.”
Laurence Banapour from Caritas Iran said that the meeting is not just an opportunity to talk about projects, but “to realise the importance of applying the Gospel to our work.”