AIC Joins Cor Unum in Meeting with Pope Benedict XVI

By Gayle Johnson, LCUSA President-Elect and AIC Board Member

Six members of AIC joined a delegation representing Cor Unum, a Pontifical Council of Volunteers worldwide, in a meeting in Rome the week of November 7. Christa Foelting, AIC Germany; Maria Loers, AIC France; Michele de Precourt, AIC Italy; Maria Cristina Cambaggio, a volunteer from Italy; and Laurence de La Brosse, AIC President, were among the twelve participants who met with Cardinal Robert Sarah, President of Cor Unum, and the Pope. Below you will find the heart of the message from Pope Benedict XVI on the role of volunteers in our world.

AIC President Laurence de La Brosse with Pope Benedict XVI
AIC President Laurence de La Brosse with Pope Benedict XVI

“Charity is a witness, a God given opportunity to minister to all those that are far from the faith; not because we want to direct our charitable work towards this end, but rather because we want to help people to grow deeper in the knowledge of themselves and meet their profound needs. Otherwise our contribution would not be an authentic help if we do not appeal to the heart of the people where there is a deep longing for God…

“… I would also like to express my deep gratitude to you and, by extension, to the millions of Catholic volunteers who contribute, regularly and generously, to the Church’s charitable mission throughout the world…

“The faith of all Catholics is surely strengthened when they see the good that is being done in the name of Christ…

“For Christians, volunteer work is not merely an expression of good will. It is based on a personal experience of Christ…

“While it is the duty of public authority to acknowledge and to appreciate this contribution without distorting it, your role as Christians is to take an active part in the life of society, seeking to make it ever more humane, ever more marked by authentic freedom, justice and solidarity…. If these spiritual roots are denied or obscured and the criteria of our collaboration become purely utilitarian, what is most distinctive about the service you provide risks being lost, to the detriment of society as a whole….”

This message from the Pope leaves the members of Ladies of Charity much to think about as as we begin a new year. Our work with those living in poverty is meant to bring these individuals and ourselves closer to Christ. Christ is always at the center of all we do. ?

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