The real life of Caritas Europa develops in the local initiatives and coordination at the level of the member organisations.
A relationship among national Caritas in Europe and in other continents is of the greatest importance. We can see how local offices engage in contacts and collaborate in different situations where people are in need. Stronger national offices are ready to assist smaller ones in the realisation of projects at the service of people in still other countries. The situation of refugees and migrants in Europe, the poverty which hits European peoples by the millions and the crisis of the war in Syria triggers a serious concern for many. Caritas has a leading position in the work to assist these people. On top of the social and material problems, we are facing a kind of a crisis in the European political world in a way that one speaks of a crisis of the European Project. We do not simply want to watch from the side-line this situation. We are deeply involved in it on the basis of our Christian principles and the evangelical inspiration, while we do everything to contribute to the wellbeing of all people on our continent and far across the borders of the continent.
I want to begin by paying tribute to the many professional workers and the numerous volunteers all over Europe. My warmest gratitude goes to the members of the many Action Groups and Task Forces, to the engaged team of the Secretariat, to the Executive Board and to all those who participate in Caritas Europa events, in bilateral and multilateral activities, putting daily into practice the programme of the Good Samaritan in Europe. You, my dear “workers in the vineyard of the Lord for the poor”, are the real face of Caritas, and we receive the most consoling messages about your work throughout Europe and especially in the more difficult regions of war and poverty.
As President of Caritas Europa, the past year I was able to participate in the executive meetings as well as the Representative Commission of Caritas Internationalis in Rome. These kinds of meetings allow the regional and international organisations to find further synergies in their work. In our own organisation, I was able to participate in the meetings of the Executive Board and in several other meetings. I must say that the greatest gain is on my part as every time I learn much from the gatherings and from the persons I meet.
I appreciate very much the work done by our Secretary General and his staff in Brussels. These men and women work with great capacity and drive at advocacy, humanitarian aid and institutional development. Lately, a promising Young Caritas has been developing through their efforts and the way has been opened to a theological deepening and an assistance for professional development. Strategic planning is the constant concern of the office in Brussels. The heads of office meet on a regular basis in what they call a SMT retreat. On those occasions, they go through the life of Caritas Europa in all its different aspects and concerns. We can say that the office is considered as a strong leading presence not only in our own organisation, but also in a network of European and Church organisations. I just want to say a big thanks to all of them.
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