(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received in audience on Saturday the French voluntary service agency, “the Catholic Delegation for Cooperation”, which is marking the 50th anniversary of its foundation.
Listen to Lydia O’Kane's report:
The Catholic Delegation for Cooperation is the international voluntary service agency run by the Church in France and has volunteers on missions in over 50 countries who work in solidarity with local Churches and communities on development projects.
Culture of Mercy
To mark its 50th anniversary the delegation on Saturday was received by Pope Francis in the Vatican where he told them to promote a culture of mercy.
He said this culture needed to be one where “no one looks to the other with indifference or runs away when he sees the suffering of brothers “. Do not be afraid, the Pope told those gathered “to walk the streets of fraternity and to build bridges between peoples…”
Through your initiatives, your plans and your actions, he added, you render a poor Church visible, one that empathizes with those who are suffering, marginalized and excluded.
The Holy Father pointed out that the word “solidarity” is at times over used to such an extent that its meaning is lost, and is in fact more than just an act of generosity. He explained that what was required was a new mindset that thinks in terms of the community where everyone is respected. Thinking in this way, underlined Pope Francis also contributes to a genuine ecological conversion which recognizes the eminent dignity of every person, their value, their creativity and their ability to seek and promote the common good.
The Pope encouraged the delegation to be at the service of a Church which allows everyone to recognize the amazing closeness of God, his compassion, his love and to welcome the strength that he gives us in Jesus Christ.