May 25, 2013

Audience with Holy Father in Rome

I was in Rome from 13 to 17 to attend the Representative Council (Repco) of Caritas Internationalis which is a kind of board meeting of Caritas Confederation.  Asia is represented by Caritas Sri Lanka and Caritas Indonesia together with myself as their president.  Regional Coordinator, Mr. Zar Gomez also joined the meeting.  Prior to the Repco, all the seven regional presidents of Caritas together with the president of the Caritas Internationalis, Cardinal Maradiaga and Mr. Roy, the secretary general, were invited by Pontifical Council Cor Unum to share ideas on the revised statues and internal rules of Caritas Internationalis in which the Pontifical Council was assigned as office in charge of Holy See for Caritas, both for International and regional one. 

On Thursday morning, participants of the Repco were invited to visit Casa Santa Marta to have private audience with Holy Father.  I had attended such Papal audience several times but this one with Pope Francisco was different.  Pope shared his own ideas on charitable activities of the Church for 10 minutes and gave us chance to talk.  So all the regional presidents were invited to introduce respective regions for 5 minutes.  Then Mr. Roy presented a basket with bread an fish to symbolise the beginning of the international anti poverty campaign.  Then Holy Father gave yet another talk.  Then, of course, personal greetings and photo taking time.  Holy Father was really simple and kind.  He emphasised that we should not stop at the level of emergency relief effort but have to continue to walk along with people as the Good Samaritan did with a wounded man. (Holy Father spoke in Spanish this time. I did so in English as several others did and it seems Holy Father is not comfortable with English.)

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