VATICAN CITY, FEB. 14, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is assuring the poor of the love that the Church has for them, stating that it will not abandon them.
The Pope stated this today in an address while visiting the Don Luigi di Liegro shelter run by Caritas in Rome.
The Pontiff visited the various facilities on the premises, including the health center, hostel, canteen, and pharmacy, and he blessed a commemorative plaque.
He greeted the medical staff and volunteer aid workers as well as the poor people who are being served at the shelter.
"Dear brothers and friends who have found welcome here," the Holy Father said, "know that the Church loves you deeply and will not abandon you, because it recognizes in the countenance of each of you that of Christ."
"He wanted to identify himself in a very special way with those who find themselves in poverty and indigence," he affirmed.
"The witness of charity, which in this place finds particular realization, belongs to the mission of the Church together with the proclamation of the Gospel," Benedict XVI stated.
He added, "Man does not only need to be fed materially or helped to overcome moments of difficulty, but also has the necessity of knowing who he is and knowing the truth about himself, about his dignity."
The Pope affirmed that "the Church, with its service on behalf of the poor, is therefore charged to proclaim to all the truth about man, who is loved by God, created in his image, redeemed by Christ and called to eternal communion with him."
He continued: "Many people have thus wanted to rediscover, and are rediscovering, their dignity, sometimes lost in tragic events, and recover confidence in themselves and hope in the future.
"Through deeds, examples and words of those who lend their service here, numerous men and women are able to feel in a tangible way that their lives are protected by the Love that is God, and because of this they have a meaning and an importance."
"This profound certainty generates in man's heart a powerful, solid, luminous hope, a hope that gives one the courage to continue on the journey of life despite the failures, difficulties and trials that accompany it," the Pontiff acknowledged.
He encouraged those who work in the shelter to "have before your eyes and your heart Jesus' example, who for love became our servant and loved us 'to the end,' to the cross."
"Be joyous witnesses of the infinite charity of God," the Holy Father stated, "and, imitating the example of the deacon St. Lawrence, consider these friends of yours a treasure more precious than your life."
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Full text: http://zenit.org/article-28356?l=english