The message, signed and sent by the Pope's secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, marked the 50th anniversary of the aid organization entrusted to the German bishops' conference. Bishops from Germany, Latin America, Asia and Oceania participate in the group.
The papal message is directed to Archbishop Werner Thissen of Hamburg, as the representative of Misereor before the German episcopal conference.
"Fifty years ago," the message said, "the foundation of the episcopal aid organization Misereor was an expression of necessity, and the experience of divine compassion, which Christ gifted us and the Church makes known to us. [It was] a call to notice the needs of the others that invites us to share with them the treasures of the faith, but also material goods."
The papal message recalled how Misereor began with uncertainty, causing Cardinal Joseph Frings to call it at that time "an adventure of the Holy Spirit."
"Over the past years," the message continued, "a solid bridge has been constructed over the abyss between those who have and the needy; a movement of collaboration that unites numerous people in German, Africa, Asia, Oceania and Latin American in solidarity."