Personal attitude’ and Christian identity key to Caritas work, says Vatican Secretary of State

“Shaking someone’s hand, looking into their eyes, offering a friendly presence, saving a person from loneliness–these should be the concern of Caritas,” said Cardinal Pietro Parolin during a homily at a Mass for Caritas clergy and staff. The cardinal, who is Secretary of State for the Holy See, urged Caritas workers to remember that their “personal attitude” and “personal encounter with the person who is suffering” are crucial parts of carrying out the Caritas mission.


Cardinal Pietro Parolin celebrated Mass for Caritas clergy and staff during the General Assembly . Photo by Sheahen/Caritas

“Behind every social phenomenon there are people,” he said during the Mass, which was celebrated as part of the Caritas Internationalis General Assembly in Rome. He encouraged the Caritas family to be aware of the “personal dimension of misery” and “see with the eyes of Christ.”

“Caritas does not exist without a vital relationship with the Church,” Cardinal Parolin went on, noting that no connections with “international sponsors can make us deviate from this profound communion… It is our identity.”

Speaking of Caritas’ emergency response work, the cardinal remembered the earthquake in Nepal and also the crises in Syria and Iraq, to which “the international community has not been able to find a path” to a peaceful solution. During the prayers of the faithful, the congregation remembered victims of emergencies such as the current conflict in Ukraine.

Later in the Mass, Cardinal Parolin thanked Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, former president of Caritas Internationalis, for his years of service.

In his homily, he also thanked all Caritas workers worldwide. A personal attitude of love “gives sense to our presence in the world as a continuation of the Lord’s presence,” said Cardinal Parolin. “Thank you for being the direct witness of God’s love for humanity.”


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