By Ferruccio Ferrante, communications officer with Caritas Italy
“Wherever you go, you’ll find Caritas” was the name of Caritas Italy’s conference which looked at issues surrounding migrants, young people, families, people facing life alone and those suffering from addictions.
Over 600 people from 161 diocesan Caritas brought with them their own experiences of working with Caritas in Italy and went away having shared and gained greater knowledge and hope.
In this time of difficulty when the crisis increases its grip, Caritas is by people’s side all over Italy. In the first six months of 2012, requests for help from Caritas increased by 44.5% compared to the previous year. Caritas finds itself with a great responsibility: how to continue to accompany people in their difficulties. It’s a responsibility that can’t be passed over to someone else because each of us must be a champion of change for the common good.
But how can we do this? Some ideas to come out of Caritas Italy’s conference were: organising flash mobs, responsible consumption and saving and ethical buying. Continue reading
Pope Benedict XVI arriving at the Caritas hostel in Rome. Credit: Caritas/Michelle Hough
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By Michelle Hough, Caritas Internationalis
It’s 8.30am on Valentine’s Day, I’m at Rome’s Termini Station and I’m waiting for the Pope. Working for Caritas is never boring and can sometimes be quite surreal.
This year is European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion. Caritas Europa has launched a big campaign called “Zero Poverty”. Bishops around Italy and the whole of Europe are visiting social services projects in their dioceses today to show solidarity with the poor. Pope Benedict, as Bishop of Rome, has come to the Caritas hostel at Termini Station.
I’m in a press enclosure with other Caritas colleagues and journalists and the Pope will come by on the raised walkway any minute. I’m almost 6 feet tall in my heels but we’re far too low to get a good view. I feel a bit like Zacchaeus, the diminutive tax collector out of the bible, he climbed up a tree to get a better view when Jesus walked by. I think about heaving myself up onto the railings so I can get a good photo for the Caritas website, but I might just end up being told off by the Pope’s bodyguards.
Even though it’s purely coincidental that Pope Benedict is visiting the hostel on Valentine’s Day (today is also Saints Cyril and Methodius’ Day for the Church), you could say that love is the theme of the Pope’s visit.
“For Rome, the Caritas hostel is a place where love is not just a word or a feeling, but something concrete, that allows the light of God to enter the lives of the whole community,” says the Pope after he arrives at the hostel. Continue reading