Pontiff Greets European Cor Unum Retreat

Urges Participants to Renew Commitment to Serve

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 30, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is encouraging the diocesan leaders of Caritas and other ecclesial agencies throughout Europe to renew their commitment to serve those in need.



The Pope said this in a message sent Nov. 23 to Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, on the occasion of the spiritual exercises taking place at the Marian shrine of Jasna Gora in Czestochowa, Poland. The note was sent via Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

The retreat, which is under way through Sunday, gathered 300 participants from 27 countries and 147 dioceses throughout Europe to reflect on the theme "Here I Am."

"In view of the guiding theme of your meeting, the generous response of the prophet Isaiah to the call that he received from the Lord, the Holy Father prays that all of you will be moved by Christ's love to renew your commitment to be of service to your brothers and sisters in need," the note said.

Referencing Benedict XVI's call, in "Deus Caritas Est," for a "formation of the heart" of charity workers in order that they may be led to the "encounter with God in Christ, which awakens their love and opens their spirit to others," the message stated that the retreat "should enkindle within you the same sentiments of self-giving love that moved the Lord Jesus to bend down to wash the feet of his disciples and to lay down his life for his sheep."

The gathering is the third of its kind. The first was held in Guadalajara, Mexico, in June 2008, with 500 leaders of aid agencies from North America, Latin America and the Caribbean. The following year, 450 aid workers from Asia gathered in Taipei, Taiwan.

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