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     Home > Charity and Solidarity  >  2013-11-09 19:41:32
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The poor, even the poor in health, are a richness for the Church: Pope

Vatican City, 09 Nov 2013: The poor, even the poor in health, are a richness for the Church”. And the men and women who work or volunteer with them “have received the gift and the obligation to gather this richness, to help promote it, not only in the Church itself but in all of society.”

Pope Francis made these comments on Saturday in the Paul VI Hall during an audience attended by people with sickness or disability and some members of UNITALSI, an Italian association that travels with the sick and disabled on pilgrimage to Lourdes, France, and to other international Marian sanctuaries. The association is marking 110 years of its foundation. Addressing them the Pope said that ‘your work is not mere welfare or philanthropy, but genuine proclamation of the Gospel of charity, it is the ministry of consolation.’

The Pope then recalled the many men and women throughout Italy, who are volunteers of UNITALSI. They, out of love for Christ and following the example of the Good Samaritan, welcome the sick and offer words of comfort. He told them not to be discouraged by the difficulties and fatigue, but continue to donate time, smile and love to the brothers and sisters in need. Pope Francis told them that every sick person might see in their face the face of Jesus, and that they would recognize in the sick the suffering Christ.

The Pope commented on how the current “social and cultural context is more inclined to hide physical fragility, to consider it only as a problem that demands resignation and piety or sometimes the rejection of people.”

But UNITALSI, said Pope Francis, is called to be a prophetic sign and “to go counter to this worldly logic, helping the suffering to be protagonists in society, in the Church and in the association itself”.

Pope Francis said that to promote the actual insertion of the sick in the Christian community and to inspire in them a strong sense of belonging, what is required is inclusive ministry in parishes and associations. It is really enhance the presence and testimony of the frail and suffering, not only as recipients of evangelization, but as active subjects of the same apostolic action, added the Pontiff.

Pope Francis exhorted the sick and the disabled not to consider themselves as only object of solidarity and charity, but to feel fully included in the life and mission of the Church. You have your own place, a specific role in the parish and in every sector of the Church. Do not be ashamed to be a precious treasure of the Church! the Pope reminded them.

He urged them to continue despite difficulties and fatigue, and to imitate Mary’s maternal care. In following Mary, she will help each person to be a reflection of the merciful God, he said. “Every sick and fragile person can see in your face the face of Jesus; and you, too, can recognize Christ in the person who suffers,” added Pope Francis.
Source: VR Sedoc


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