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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

CARITAS ITALY

Caritas Italy is a pastoral organ of the Italian Bishops’ Conference that has been tasked with the promotion of charity. It was founded in 1971 by Monsignor Giovanni Nervo with the support of Pope Paul VI. Its main purpose, as specified in article 1 of its statute, is providing a “testimony of charity in the Italian ecclesial community ... in view of the integral development of man, social justice, and peace, with particular attention to the least and having at its core a pedagogical function.” This mandate is accomplished through the implementation of the following tasks:

a) collaborating with the bishops to promote a sense of charity toward people and communities in situations of difficulty that are present in particular churches; 

b) coordinating Christian-inspired charitable and welfare initiatives;

c) announcing, organizing, and coordinating emergency interventions in the event of public disasters occurring both in Italy and abroad;

d) collaborating with other Christian-inspired bodies:

- to carry out studies and research on failures to meet human needs in order to discover their causes and to prepare both curative and preventative intervention plans within a framework of unitary pastoral planning, and in order to stimulate the actions of civil institutions and adequate legislation;

- to promote volunteering and the training of pastoral workers and Christian-inspired staff involved in charitable works, and the work of professionals and volunteers engaged in public or private social services or in activities promoting human welfare;

- to contribute to the human and social development of developing countries by raising public awareness, providing services and economic aid, and coordinating the initiatives of various Christian-inspired groups and movements.

Caritas Italy is chaired by a bishop of an Italian diocese and is elected by the Italian Bishops’ Conference. The bishop is assisted by a presidential council and a national council. It is organized on a diocesan basis:

  • Each diocese has created a diocesan Caritas unit that is presided over by the bishop of the diocese and directed by a priest or layperson in collaboration with other diocesan Caritas units and Caritas Italy. Diocesan Caritas coordinates the charitable activities within its diocese.
  • Forty-five diocesan Caritas units participated in the work in Ethiopia following from the first protocol of Humanitarian Corridors.

 

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

Diocesan Caritas is the pastoral body of the particular church that is tasked with animating ecclesial communities with a sense of charity for people and communities in difficulty. It is also responsible for translating charity into concrete interventions to promote and, where possible, prevent injury to, human development. (art.3 Statute)

COMMUNITY OF SANT’EGIDIO

The Community of Sant’Egidio is an international lay Catholic movement founded in 1968 in Rome by Andrea Riccardi. It was recognized as an “international association of the supporters of pontifical rights” by a decree of the Pontifical Council for the Laity on May 18, 1986. Today it is present in 72 countries around the world. Together with the Ministry of the Interior and the Federation of Italian Evangelical Churches (the Waldensian churches), it is one of the signatories of the first protocol establishing the Humanitarian Corridors in December 2015, as well as a signatory to the two subsequent protocols of 2017 and 2019 (together with the Italian Bishops’ Conference).

CULTURAL MEDIATOR

A cultural mediator is a bilingual professional who helps to foster the integration of and dialogue between groups of immigrants and various persons and communities. Often, a cultural mediator shares the same mother tongue and is from the same country as the migrants they work with. The mediator lives in or is familiar with the social context in which the beneficiary has been placed. In addition to providing translations, it is the role of the mediator to explain both the host and refugee culture to the other involved parties. This involves facilitating both the understanding of the welcoming community by explaining the characteristics of the beneficiary’s home country, and of the beneficiary with respect to the host community. A cultural mediator is expressly provided for in the second protocol of Humanitarian Corridors as regards the reception managed by Caritas (while reference to a mediator was included in the first protocol, this provision was not fully implemented by every host community). The mediator’s presence facilitates both the beneficiaries’ and the welcoming community’s understanding of cultural problems. When there is no mediator, there have been significant misunderstandings, for example concerning the beneficiaries’ need to understand the bureaucratic delays inherent in the process of obtaining refugee status. Another cultural disconnect occurred when certain welcoming communities failed to understand the importance of some aspects of Eritrean culture such as the coffee ritual.