“The Church and the Pope need your work, your commitment and your witness at the frontiers of the international community”, said Pope Francis in his address when he received in private audience participants in the Forum of Catholic Inspired Non-Governmental organizations, on December 7th 2019, at the conclusion of the Forum’s General Assembly, which took place in Rome, December 5th to 7th.
In his speech to the participants, Pope Francis addressed 3 main themes:
1) The formation of members,
2) Having the necessary means, and
3) Coordinating initiatives through “teamwork”.
“The social doctrine of the Church offers the framework of ecclesial principles that can help provide a better service to humanity”, said Pope Francis as he encouraged participants “to be familiar with that doctrine, to be well-trained in it, so as then to be able to “translate” it in your projects. He added that “the need to provide adequate training and education as a means of confronting the complex issues of contemporary social and political life represents a priority commitment for the Church today.”
While noting that Catholic Inspired NGOs needed the necessary means to achieve their stated goals, he nevertheless urged participants not to be discouraged when “sometimes they prove insufficient to reach the goals”, and invited them to “keep in mind that the Church has always accomplished great works with limited means”. “Certainly, those means need to be found and our talents used in the best way possible, but in a way that demonstrates that all power comes to us from God and is not our own. That is where the Church’s wealth comes from; indeed, “God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work” (2 Cor 9:8)”, he added.
In concluding his remarks, Pope Francis stressed the importance of “coordinating initiatives through teamwork”. He said that “the experience of faith, of knowing that we are vessels of the Lord’s grace, tells us that this is possible”, and added that “Cooperating in shared projects makes the value of our works even more evident, since it brings out something connatural to the Church: her communion, her journeying together (syn-odos) in the same mission in service of the common good, through “co-responsibility” and the contribution of everyone”. He commended the Forum for seeking to be an example in this regard, and noted that the projects carried out in different parts of the world, “by joining forces with other Catholic organizations and in communion with your Pastors and the Representatives the Holy See to International Organizations, will have the expanding effect of the leaven of the Gospel and the light and power of the earliest Christians.”
Leaders of over 100 Catholic inspired organizations and networks working in the international political contexts attended the 2019 assembly. CYNESA Executive Director, Allen Ottaro, was able to join the meeting, thanks to the support of the Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya and South Sudan, His Excellency Archbishop Bert van Megen. The assembly was organized as a broad platform for dialogue including representatives of the Vatican Secretariat of State, five Permanent Representatives of the Holy See to the international bodies and various representatives of the Dicasteries. The meeting concluded a two-year collaboration on the theme “Moving toward a more inclusive society” and explored the possible ways forward in responding to the growing complexity of today’s interconnected challenges.
Founder – Executive Director, CYNESA.