Saturday, August 11, 2012

Love for the Pope and the Poor

 In his letter “Which love for the Pope?”, Fr. Flavio Peloso shows us how our love for the Pope is expressed on the love and service to the poor.

 "Dear Confrères, let us renew today our childlike commitment to the charism of Don Orione. Our love for the Pope is not (only) for intellectuals, but for the “porters of charity”; it also calls for the apologia of the word and of the pen but above all for “the apologia of charity”. Our love for the Pope does not mean special strategies of pastoral work, but it means that everyone practices the “the strategy of charity”.
Don Orione was a saint that “belonged wholly to the Church and to the Pope” and yet people know him better as the “saint of charity”, “the father of the poor, the benefactor of suffering and abandoned humanity” (Pius XII). May it be said a little bit of us as individuals and as Congregation, that we are the “the Pope's men”, through the works of charity. 

 At this point, a story comes to mind. A few years ago, when I was a counselor, I visited Oradea, in Rumania, and met Basile Hossu, the Greek–catholic bishop of the town, a wonderful and good man. He recalled the many sufferings and humiliations undergone during the era of the communist oppression, especially aimed at the Greek-catholic communities. Then he cheered up speaking of the work of the Don Orione people in Oradea: “Your work, the way you care for the youth and for the poor, has brought about in the people a new attitude and new idea of the Church. I remember that one day I was traveling by car with Father Lazzarin: the police stopped us and were very rude and insulting towards me. Father Lazzarin, to justify himself, said that we were in a hurry to reach Oradea, where the Confrères and the boys of the Youth Center would be waiting for us. ‘Are you going to Father Luigi's?' the policeman broke in. ‘Yes, we are his Confrères'. The policeman changed attitude and spoke favorably of the Youth Center (Oratory) and of the boys. You see? – concluded Mons . Hossu – the work that you are doing in the Youth Center, on behalf of the boys and the youth, is making the whole Church of Oradea loved and respected.”

Another great churchman, Cardinal Paulo Evaristo Arns, Archbishop of San Paolo in Brazil , some years ago, put our Little Cottolengo forward as the beneficiary of the offerings of the “campaign for brotherhood” organized by the Bishops' Conference. He stated that the work of charity was “the door opener of the Catholic Church in the city”. It meant that the work done by the Congregation for the needy and for those affected by serious mental and physical handicaps, made the Catholic Church and its Pastors believable and closer to the people.

If you want to read the whole letter, please visit:

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