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True Charity Means Focusing on Jesus And the Poor, Pope Francis Says

By Cindy Wooden

Pope Francis delivers his blessing during the opening Mass of the general Assembly of Caritas Internationalis in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican May 23, 2019. Some 450 delegates of national Catholic charities from around the world attended the Mass. (Photo: Catholic News Service/Vatican Media)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The charity of the Catholic Church must be born from prayer before “the fixed tabernacle and mobile tabernacles” — adoring Jesus in the Eucharist and ministering to him in the poor and needy, Pope Francis said.

Opening the general assembly of Caritas Internationalis, the Vatican-based federation of national Catholic charities, Pope Francis celebrated Mass May 23 with some 450 delegates from around the world.

Gathered at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis told the very large aid and development agencies, like the U.S. Catholic Relief Services, and the very small agen- cies, like Caritas Bangladesh, that they must follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit and avoid the temptation of “efficiencyism” and of “worshipping ourselves and our goodness.”

Christians are called to love as Jesus loved, giving up everything, including control, the Holy Father said.

“Jesus asks us to remain in him, not in our ideas; to leave behind a desire to control and run things,” he said. “He asks us to trust one another and give ourselves to the other.”

Looking at the Mass’ first reading, Acts 15:7-21, in which the early Christian community was debating how much of Jewish law must be adopted by new Christians coming from among the Gentiles, Pope Francis said some might ask why Jesus had not given his disciples clear instructions on that for the future.

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