The Caritas Internationalis General Assembly, held every four years in Rome, is always a special occasion. But the next one will be particularly special. At the 19th General Assembly, in May, 2011, we will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of Caritas Internationalis. It therefore gives me great pleasure to invite you to this event, which marks a milestone in the history of our confederation.
The General Assembly will be held from 22 to 27 May 2011 at the Domus Mariae Palazzo Carpegna in Rome.
As we look back on 60 years of assisting the victims of humanitarian crises and working to combat global poverty, this will be an occasion to reflect on how far we have travelled as a confederation in that time. And it will also be an opportunity to take a prophetic look ahead to our future role in the world.
Our confederation has had to adapt and evolve over the years to the changing times. And that process of change and renewal must continue. The General Assembly is our opportunity to come together and jointly shape our future.
The Strategic Framework we agree in 2011 will take us up to 2015, which is the target date for achieving the Millennium Development Goals set by the nations of the world in 2000. The MDGs aim to halve global poverty by 2015 and we have also placed poverty at the heart of our strategic agenda for the next five years. We need to consider not only what we can do to ensure the MDGs are achieved but also ask the question “What comes next?”
Our General Assembly theme ‘One Human Family, Zero Poverty’ poses some challenging questions: If we truly believe that we are all part of one human family, what does that mean for our work as a confederation?
Is ‘zero poverty’ an impossible dream, or the only logical goal for our work?
We will have the opportunity to discuss these and many other questions during the week. But above all, the General Assembly is an opportunity for delegates from all our national Caritas members to gather in a spirit of solidarity, fraternity and cooperation, to pray together, share experiences, and find renewed inspiration in our mission and the special communion that our confederation embodies. I hope you will be able to join us.
The General Secretariat team looks forward to welcoming you to Rome and I invite you to come with ideas, reflections, prayers, and joy to unite as one Caritas family for our 19th General Assembly.
Yours in Christ,