Caritas Internationalis will launch its 21st General Assembly with the theme “One Human Family, One Common Home” on 23rd May 2019 with a strong call to work together to face the unprecedented scale of difficulties facing humanity.
“We are driven by our collective belief that we are part of one human family, sharing one common home,” says Caritas’ President, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle.
“The sheer number of displaced people, the spread of conflict and the environmental disaster which is becoming more and more evident, together threaten to overwhelm us – unless we urgently act together against these problems as one family with one home,” he says.
Cardinal Tagle will speak at the press conference alongside Caritas Internationalis Secretary General, Michel Roy.
They will welcome Maria José Alexander, who is the youngest director of a national Caritas, Caritas Somalia. Maria José will also speak at the General Assembly on the importance of mobilising young people and on the grassroots work of Caritas.
Interactive collage of faces and Papal mass
“The future is made of us, let’s Share the Journey”. This is the title of an interactive collage of photos of migrants and refugees past and present, leaders and people associated with migration. After the press conference, Cardinal Tagle will paste a photograph of his grandfather – a child migrant to the Philippines from China – into the artwork. During the General Assembly, photos to complete it will be pasted by Caritas representatives and migrants.
The three-metre high artwork has been created for Caritas’ global Share the Journey campaign on behalf of migrants and refugees by Roman artist Stefano Maria Girardi. It provokes reflections on how – although as individuals we are all very different – we still share one common humanity.
Pope Francis will celebrate mass in St Peter’s Basilica for the General Assembly at 5.00pm the same day.
Cardinal Tagle will be confirmed as Caritas President for a second four-year term at the General Assembly, which will run from 23rd to 28th May at the Hotel Ergife in Rome. For the first time, a forum for Caritas Women and one for Caritas Youth will take place on the 22nd May.
The international meeting, which is held every four years, will elect a new Secretary General, Treasurer and other senior officials. The confederation’s strategic direction for the next four years will be agreed and important new policies such as that on safeguarding will be discussed.
Guest speakers include José Graziano da Silva, director general of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO, and Cardinal Pedro Barreto, archbishop of Huancayo, Peru, and a leading light of REPAM, the Catholic Church’s network defending the rights of people living in the Amazon.
Media are welcome to the opening of the General Assembly – from 9am to 1pm on 24th May. Working sessions are closed. Other attendance or interviews may be arranged on request.