Pope to visit Caritas in Rome to highlight European poverty
12 February 2010
Pope Benedict XVI will visit the Caritas shelter in Rome at 10 am on Sunday, 14th February, to highlight poverty in Europe.
The Pope will visit the medical centre, the homeless hostel and the canteen. While there he will speak to people who use Caritas services at the hostel, doctors, nurses, Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the mayor of Rome, as well as some of the 300 volunteers who help to run it.
Caritas in Italy says that between 2007 and 2008 the number of people coming to them for help saw a 20 percent increase.
Caritas Europa recently launched its “Zero Poverty” campaign which encourages governments to tackle the root causes of poverty as part of the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion.
Despite the wealth of many European countries, poverty is becoming an increasing problem. Seventy-nine million people in Europe currently live below the poverty line. Nineteen million of whom are children.
“Caritas in Europe wants to contribute to a new way of looking at poverty,” says Fr Erny Gillen, President of Caritas Europa. “Poverty is more than a lack of material well-being. It affects the person in his or her body, his or her soul and his or her life. As a human community, we cannot let even a single person slide into the poverty spiral.”
Caritas has four food canteens around Rome which feed 1300 people a day. It also has many other services including hostels for people with HIV, crèches for children of immigrants and the “Emporium”, a Caritas shop where people who don’t have much money can go with tokens to collect essential items.
Caritas says that lack of job stability, weakened family and community ties and a lack of social safety nets all contribute to the increased number of poor and the current crisis.
For more information, please contact Michelle Hough on +39 06 69879721/+39 334 2344136 or firstname.lastname@example.org