In the first five years of his pontificate, Pope Francis has inspired and challenged us to change the geography of our hearts and minds. He has called us to leave our comfort zones and go to the “periphery” or margins, putting the poor and vulnerable at the centre of our thoughts and actions.
The Holy Father said “Caritas is the salt, the leaven and the light that provides a beacon of hope to those in need.”
Pope Francis often surprises with his actions, but at the centre of what he does is love, compassion, mercy and encounter.
“Small gestures of love, of tenderness, of care, make people feel that the Lord is with us. This is how the door of mercy opens.”
The Holy Father launched the Holy Year of Mercy in 2015 as a celebration of compassionate acts and thoughts outlined in the works of mercy. As Bishop of Rome, he went to Caritas Rome’s homeless hostel to open the door at the beginning of the year.
In September 2017, the Holy Father launched Caritas’ Share the Journey campaign and reminded us migrants and refugees are bearers of hope and it is hope that calls us to share the journey with them.
In a message to support Caritas’ Peace is Possible campaign in 2016, Pope Francis said, “So I want to turn to all the faithful and those that are committed, with Caritas, to the construction of a more just society. While the people suffer, incredible quantities of money are being spent to supply weapons to fighters. And some of the countries supplying these arms are also among those that talk of peace.”
Pope Francis’ support for Caritas programmes goes from the global to the local level. In 2014, he sent for auction a Harley Davidson that was given to him. The sale raised Euro 241,500 for Caritas Rome’s soup kitchen.
In Krakow at World Youth Day in 2016, Pope Francis opened a Caritas hostel for the poor and a retirement home as a concrete gesture of mercy and solidarity.
In an address to Caritas Internationalis in 2016, Pope Francis invited us to be, “artisans of peace and reconciliation between peoples, between communities, between believers.”
“Put into play all your energies, all your effort, to work in harmony with other communities of faith that, like you, place the dignity of the person at the centre of their attention.” Pope Francis.
From the bottom of our hearts, Caritas would like to wish Pope Francis “Happy Anniversary” and thank him for his love and support.