26 January 2023
Pope to philanthropists: Promote integral good of the person
By Francesca Merlo (https://www.vaticannews.va/)
Greeting members of the Italian Assifero Association, an Italian Association of Foundations and Philanthropic Bodies, in the Vatican on their 20th anniversary, Pope Francis congratulated each of the members for the work they have accomplished over the years and the “clearly Christian-inspired approach with which you have structured your activities”.
Pope Francis noted that the Association brings together many private foundations in Italy and abroad that work in various fields “promoting the person and developing healthy and supportive social and economic models”.
The beauty of variety
He explained that one of the most important aspects of the association is the variety as the members come from all different origins and backgrounds, bringing with them the heritage of spheres of activity, skills, and operating methods of various kinds.
“For this reason”, the Pope continued, “I would like to recommend that you pay particular attention in your programmes to three important values that, moreover, you already have in mind”.
The first value is “the promotion of the integral good of the person”; the second, “listening to local communities”; and the third, “closeness to the least”, whilst never forgetting that one of God’s values is closeness.
Promotion of the integral good of the person
Expanding on the three values, Pope Francis explained that the promotion of the integral good of the person means qualifying “that material assistance aims to emancipate people, making them protagonists in their growth, in the development of their capacities and gifts, both at an individual and community level”.
Listening to local communities
Speaking then of the second value, Pope Francis explained that listening to local communities cannot be done without listening to local realities. “It is very important, so that your intervention is not reduced to sporadic help, but sows seeds for the future where people live, in the situations that Providence points out to you”, said the Pope.
Closeness to the least
With regard to the third and final value, “closeness to the least”, Pope Francis recalled a proverb that says that ‘a chain is only as strong as its weakest link’. He explained that “to be close to those who are ‘least’, to stoop to their wounds, to take charge of their needs, is to lay a good foundation in building united and solid communities, for a better world and a future of peace”.
Finally, Pope Francis thanked the members for being there and encouraged them to go forward “with enthusiasm and wisdom”.