Caritas Internationalis General Assembly 2023

Caritas Internationalis General Assembly 2023

The General Assembly of Caritas Internationalis will be held in Rome from 11 to 16 May on the theme <b>"Building new paths of fraternity",</b> inspired by the Encyclical Letter Fratelli tutti.

About 400 delegates will participate, representing the 162 Caritas organizations operating in 200 countries and territories around the world. The programme planned for these days of work includes, among many initiatives, a private audience with Pope Francis and a round table on the challenges and role of Caritas in the world, with the participation of the Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, Mgr. Paul Richard Gallagher.

In addition to Caritas representatives from around the world, the Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Cardinal Michael Czerny, and the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, Cardinal Mario Grech, will speak at the General Assembly.

Caritas delegates will reflect on how their organizations can work better together on behalf of the poorest and most vulnerable, given the fact that millions of people around the world are affected by multiple crises, such as the war in Ukraine, the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change or food insecurity.

Finally, during the General Assembly the new leadership of the Caritas Confederation will be elected, to be in office for the next four years, from 2023 to 2027.

Audience with Pope Francis

On the morning of May 11, Pope Francis granted a private audience in the Vatican with the participants of the General Assembly.  In his speech, the Holy Father stressed that “Caritas Internationalis was conceived and willed as an expression of ecclesial communion, a means and manifestation of intra-ecclesial agape, mediating between the universal and the particular Churches, and supporting the involvement of the entire People of God in the work of charity.”

In this line, the Pope shared three advices. The first, " to cooperate with the universal Church in sowing seeds, proclaiming the Gospel through good works" and warned that "i This is not just a matter of initiating projects and strategies that prove successful and effective, but also of engaging in an ongoing process of missionary conversion."

Secondly, the Holy Father reminded the call to “accompany local Churches in their active commitment to pastoral charity” to which he suggested to “take care to train competent lay persons capable of bringing the Church’s message to political and social life.”

Finally, the third advice of Pope Francis was unity: “Your confederation embraces many different identities. Experience your diversity as a treasure, pluralism as a resource. Compete in showing esteem for one another, and allow conflicts to lead, not to division, but to encounter and growth. And he recommend to “compete in showing esteem for one another, and allow conflicts to lead, not to division, but to encounter and growth.”

“All those who work for Caritas are called to bear witness to that love before the world.  Be missionary disciples!  Follow in the footsteps of Christ!”, invited the Holy Father.

Cardinal Czerny: Caritas expresses the love born from the heart of the Church

The Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Cardinal Michael Czerny presided over a Eucharistic Celebration in St. Peter's Basilica in which he highlighted some of the key ideas of Pope Francis' speech, and recalled that Caritas Internationalis was conceived more than 70 years ago "to express the love that is born from the heart of the Church" and added that "from the Church flows the service that Caritas offers especially to those most in need".

Finally, during the open session on Friday, May 12, Cardinal Czerny launched a call for unity in order to walk together: "that all the paths that follow promote reconciliation, leaving behind the tensions and disagreements of the past, which rob us of the joy of the Gospel" and invited to make "together the best itineraries, to continue serving as the 'loving arm' of the Church, and that faith, hope and love flood and permeate their service".


09 May 2023