Caritas Athens

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By appealing to the leaders of the European Union to put people at the heart of all their political and economic decisions, ensuring that human dignity and the protection of fundamental human rights are a top priority, the Caritas Europa Regional Conference held in Rome on May 22 & 23, before the 21st General Assembly of Caritas Internationalis (23-28 May) on “A Human Family, A Common House“. “One Human Family, One Common Home”!

During this year’s Regional Conference, the participants, as representatives of 49 Caritas Europa members from 46 European countries, welcomed the new Board of Governors, composed of Leaders of the Organization from France, Norway, Scotland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Ukraine. They also welcomed Caritas Europa’s new Secretary-General, Ms Maria Nyman, while paying tribute to her outgoing counterpart, Mr Jorge Nuño Mayer, expressing their deep gratitude for his work!

“We want a social Europe that will not leave anyone behind, be hospitable and support global solidarity, responding to its pledges for development aid, aimed at eradicating poverty.

We want an inclusive Europe in which people in poverty and social exclusion are taken into account by strong policies that will not only protect them but also help them prosper by contributing to the common good.

We want a welcoming Europe where immigrants and host communities will work together.

The European Union is founded on the core values ​​of solidarity, democracy, equality, social justice, respect for human dignity and human rights. Its next institutions, following the recent European elections, have the responsibility to apply these values ​​in practice when formulating and implementing policies that have an impact on millions of people, both inside and outside Europe. ”

Caritas Europa finally called on the EU’s new leaders to take responsibility by adopting Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development “.

A Human Family, A Common House

On May 23, the 21st General Assembly of Caritas Internationalis, entitled “A Human Family, A Common House“, was launched in the Italian capital, inspired by the circular letter from the Primate of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, “Laudato Sì / Be Glorified” which ended on May 28th with a strong call to co-operate to address the unprecedented scale of difficulties faced by humanity.

450 delegates, from 165 member countries, re-elected as President of the International Organization Cardinal Louis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila of the Philippines, and as new Secretary-General, Mr Aloysious John, of Indian origin, who replaced the late Mr Michel Roy.

The GC, which is held every four years to study progress, strategic directions and new policies, was also attended by Caritas Hellas, represented by, Secretary General, Ms Elizabeth Ioustinianou-Merritt.  The assembly was also attended by the Director of Caritas Hellas, Ms Maria Alverti and the psychologist of the Organization Ms Christiana Rigoutsou.

“We are part of a human family sharing a common home,” said Caritas President Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, adding that “the crowd of displaced persons, the spread of conflicts and the environmental disaster that are becoming more and more common threaten together to crush us – unless we act against these problems as a family in a home “!

Pope Francis addresses the representatives of the General Assembly during the Holy Mass at Saint Peter’s Basilica, which was attended by the President of the International Charitable Organization and 40 bishops.

The Holy Father, declaring the beginning of the assembly, stressed that “for the sake of mission, human beliefs and traditions should remain aside. God’s presence does not lie in the greatness of what we do, but in the minority of the poor we meet. ”

Finally, “The future is made by us, let’s share the journey” was the title of the three-meter high work of the Roman artist Stefano Maria Girardi, created by collage of photographs of immigrants, refugees, leaders and people associated with immigration, which was the symbol of the 21st General Assembly of Caritas Internationalis. The material for the construction was sent by all Caritas of the world, who participated in the Pontiff World CampaignShare the Journey” in the past two years.