Dicastery Holds Retreat on Formation of the Heart

Aid Workers Encouraged to Give Faith-Filled Witness

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 28, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The Pontifical Council Cor Unum is organizing a retreat for ecclesial agency leaders that corresponds to Benedict XVI’s call for a formation of the heart of aid workers.

A Vatican communiqué announced Friday that the spiritual exercises for diocesan leaders of Caritas and other ecclesial agencies throughout Europe will begin Monday.

The retreat will be held at the Marian shrine of Jasna Gora in Czestochowa, Poland, on the theme, “Here I Am.”

The communiqué noted Benedict XVI’s call, in “Deus Caritas Est,” for a “formation of the heart” of charity workers in order that they may be led to the “encounter with God in Christ, which awakens their love and opens their spirit to others” (31a).

It added that the spiritual exercises are “intended to provide for this need through a school for deepening faith.”

The pontifical council affirmed that aside from the necessary material assistance, “human affliction needs a message of hope that only Christ can give through faith-filled witnesses.”

This gathering, which lasts through Friday, is the third of its kind. The first was held in Guadalajara, Mexico, in June 2008, with 500 leaders of aid agencies from North America, Latin America and the Caribbean. The following year, 450 aid workers from Asia gathered in Taipei, Taiwan.

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