Address of Pope Francis to the leaders and volunteers of Fidesco, a Catholic organisation for international solidarity.
Dear brothers and sisters!
I am pleased to welcome you, leaders and volunteers of FIDESCO, on your pilgrimage to Rome on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of your foundation in the Church and development service. I thank the Director for his words of greeting and introduction. Your visit to the tomb of the Apostles enables you to root your daily activities even more firmly in your faith in the dead and risen Christ and in the heart of the Church’s mission. I hope that this spiritual renewal that you are experiencing, with a penitential connotation in this Lenten season, will send you back to your brothers and sisters even more enthusiastic and more joyful. “Letting ourselves be loved by God and loving Him with the love he communicates to us provokes a first and fundamental reaction in the life of the person and his or her actions: to desire, to seek, and to have at heart the good of others” (Evangellii Gaudium, 178).
It is the “good of others” you seek, moved by the Holy Spirit when you decide to leave for a few years with FIDESCO to serve your brothers and sisters who are farther away, less fortunate, less endowed than you, but just as much loved by God and clothed in dignity. These days the Church enters into the great meditation on the Passion of the Lord. The suffering Christ is present in the poor, excluded, sick, hungry person who carries with him the mystery of the cross. You will benefit significantly from living fully this time of the Passion for drawing from the source of your mission. “Confessing that Jesus gave his blood for us prevents us from harboring the slightest doubt about the boundless love that ennobles every human being” (ibid.). Every human being is worthy. Every human being is a brother or sister to me. I invite you, in the heart of your mission, through your relationship with the Lord and through your life of faith, to keep intact the wonder, the fascination, the enthusiasm of living the Gospel (cf. ibid. n. 179), which you need in the most challenging moments of solitude, discouragement, disappointment.
I want to thank FIDESCO, its permanent leaders, its volunteers and give thanks to the Lord for the work done in these 40 years of missionary service and for the witness given to Christ who came to save all humankind. Your action of solidarity directed towards people’s integral development, being concerned with their material needs and social integration, intellectual, cultural, and spiritual growth, gives each person back their dignity. I encourage you to persevere on this path, remaining rooted in the Church’s social doctrine. It is more important than ever in our time for Christ’s faithful to give witness to tenderness and compassion. Listening to the cry of the poor, being moved by the suffering of others, and deciding to travel to touch their wounds (the wounds of Christ) not only helps to build a more beautiful, more fraternal, more evangelical world but also strengthens the Church in her mission to hasten the establishment of the Kingdom of God (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 180).
Finally, I would like to emphasize the personal growth that a commitment, however temporary, to your association can bring, both in human terms and in terms of faith. Those who commit themselves to your missions find not only an opportunity to open up to the world and cultures but also the means to respond to God’s mercy: “Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate” (Lk 6:36). He also finds a spiritual path in response to God’s gift. Here again, we thank you for the opportunity you offer, especially to the youngest, to grow in faith and humanity.
I wish you a good pilgrimage and entrust you all, and all the members of FIDESCO, to the protection of the Virgin Mary. I bless you with all my heart, and I ask you to pray for me.
Source : Vatican.va