The president of Caritas Francis Town Diocese in Botswana has said that Synodality is the DNA of the Catholic relief agency.
From May 11-16, presidents of Caritas Botswana, Eswatini, and South Africa together with their respective coordinators attended the 22nd General Assembly of Caritas Internationalis held in Rome, Italy. Some 400 Caritas delegates representing the 162 Caritas branches worldwide attended the general assembly which saw the election of Archbishop Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi of Tokyo, in Japan as the 13th President of Caritas Internationalis for the next four years.
In a message shared with the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference (SACBC) communications office, Bishop Antony Pascal Rebello said that Synodality is the DNA of Caritas, that “We are called as a church to be shining examples of fraternal fraternity, to be ambassadors of love, to be ambassadors, of respecting the dignity of every person on the face of the earth. Synodality is the DNA of Caritas.”
“Caritas is to embrace every person on the face of the earth who is the flesh of Jesus, the crucified Christ. There should be always listening, Synodality involves firstly listening and dialoguing leading us into the Integral development of the whole person, listening to the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the poor,” said Bishop Rebello.
The five days General Assembly of Caritas Internationalis was preceded by the 10th Regional General Assembly of Caritas Africa held in Rome, Italy from May 8-10. Over 90 delegates from 46 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian and Pacific Oceans as well as partners attended the three-day assembly which saw the election of the new leadership of Caritas Africa, including that of Lucy Esipila as the first woman elected as Caritas Africa regional executive secretary.
For the president of Caritas Manzini Diocese in Eswatini, the election of Ms. Esipila is a sign of the Church’s “commitment to work towards having women in the leadership” of Caritas Africa.
“The meeting of Caritas Africa for the very first time in history chose a woman, a young woman, as the executive secretary general. This is also a sign of our commitment to work towards having women in the leadership of our organization,” said Bishop Ponce de Leon.
Meanwhile, the president of Caritas South Africa, Bishop Stanislaw Jan Dziuba of Umzimkulu Diocese said that one of the goals of Caritas Africa is “to involve young people in the mission of Caritas to serve others who are in need.”
Bishop Dziuba also described the encounter with Pope Francis at the start of the 22nd General Assembly of Caritas Internationalis as “encouraging.”
“The encouraging experience was the meeting of all Caritas members with Pope Francis, who expressed his concerns and support for the Caritas service as sharing the love of Christ with others. We admired the Holy Father who met personally with around 400 participants,” said Bishop Dziuba.