Fresh Approach to Charity Urged by Pope

In a Letter to St. Vincent de Paul Society

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 16, 2001 ( A «fresh approach to charity» is needed that emphasizes solidarity with those who suffer, John Paul II said in a letter to the president of the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

The Pope wrote to José Ramón Díaz-Torremocha on the occasion of a meeting of the organization´s Coordination Committee.

In the letter, the Pope says: «You represent an eminent form of charity that is carried out in all continents, in service of the poor, which, as Vincent loved to point out, is a way of serving Christ. … Your association is a permanent reminder to the Church of her vocation to express Christ´s preferential love for the poor.»

The Pontiff added: «It is the time for a ´fresh approach to charity,´ which promotes not only the efficacy of assistance given, but the ability to be close to, and in solidarity with, those who suffer.»

The St. Vincent de Paul Society ( was founded on April 23, 1833, at the initiative of Frederic Ozanam, a 22-year-old law student in Paris. Ozanam has been beatified by John Paul II. The group works in 132 countries.

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