You bring light, hope, to bear witness to love

Address by Mr Francesco Pinelli (temporary Caritas Internationalis administrator)
at the opening session of the Caritas Africa Regional Assembly
Rome, 08 May 2023

Good morning your eminences and excellencies, and all of you members of the Caritas African Regional Conference. A special Thanks to his grace Msgr. Anokye who kindly invited me.

Your are gathered here for the regional Assembly “building together resilient communities in Africa”… this is an important step not only for Africa but also in the path to the Caritas Internationalis 22nd General Assembly.

Let me share with you 3 lessons I learnt during my mandate in CI that, I hope may be of some help for this Assembly

1. Your action as Caritas is wonderful and unique because many people are deeply involved in this mission of love rooted in the gospel, many beneficiaries are relieved by your daily work. 
You bring light, hope, to bear witness to love. You are present in war and climate emergencies, in forgotten crises, in community strengthening. You have been present in the field, but also in places where you try to give voice to changes that can eliminate the roots of injustice strengthening communities in difficulty is the foundation of a robust more inclusive and just society and the basic layer to build local Church.
Your desire to walk together is “prophetic"

Indeed to walk together as one body (uniting 46 nations, the whole sub-Saharan Africa) is a prophetic project of faith and hope, it shows a direction where the Church should go, because:
  • It seems much easier to proceed alone, many are the temptations for division for enhancing differences and forgetting or diminish our brothers
  • Walking together requires patience and is sometimes inefficient, but this the way families live and grow, based on love on mutual care but open to discussion and to listen to each others problems.
In this perspective National Caritas, bishop conferences and dioceses can improve the efforts of mutual understanding and cooperation improving common paths of development.

CI has synodality in its DNA

Caritas, tries hard to apply a “participatory approach” in what she does. Your activities are characterized by several Committees, participated by members originally from the 6 areas of Caritas Africa, the governance bodies follow the same model, when involved in project and emergencies we strive to join forces.

These are a seeds of synodality, that have always been present within Caritas Internationalis. Communities are the place where synodality can flourish. Not only Church communities but civil communities. The more inclusive the participation the stronger can be the community resilience

The common path of synodality opens up wide horizons, rejoices our hearts, opens our minds, teaches us to be more humble and receptive, increases the joy of participating in the mission and the hope to contribute to the kingdom of God on the earth. 


Let me also thank those who served before, in Caritas Africa governance bodies but also in Caritas Internationalis. A special thank goes to Fr Pierre Cibambo who spent 20 years promoting Caritas.

I encountered a lot of talents in the African Caritas people (I had the opportunity to meet the Regional Committee in Addis). Therefore I know that you selected very good leaders, please continue to do so.

And do not forget to promote your extremely capable woman leaders and your youth.

In conclusion

Caritas Africa members, thank you all for bearing witness to the love of the Church, thank you for your ability to collaborate with dioceses, with your bishops, with sister Caritas from other parts of the world, with other Catholic organizations, with international bodies with non-profit organisations of all inspirations

Thank you for the support you give to CI and also to me.

Thank you also for your prayers

As far as I am concerned, my term is closed to the end. Deo gratias!

I apologize for my shortcomings, for the issues I have not successfully dealt with, for any mistakes I made. Please forgive me

I tried hard and offered what I had: no more than 5 breads and 2 fishes put in the hands of the Lord, hoping he may make something with them

May the Lord bless your daily work, as well as your endeavors in these coming days.

May the Holy Spirit enlighten our steps, warm-up our hearts, inspire our minds, reinforce our hope.

May Saint Therese of Calcutta help us to bring hope where there is despair.

May Saint Oscar Romero help us to create a healing future where there are the wounds of the past.

May Saint Martin of Porres support us to bring love and new life, out of the Paschal message of the resurrection of the Lord.

Thank you

May 8, 2023