Pope Francis today drew attention to one of the problems of the world that seems closest to his heart: that of unemployment.
The Holy Father has mentioned dozens of times the plight of young people who can’t find work, most recently on his return flight from Poland on Sunday, when he spoke of how fundamentalist groups such as ISIS grow off the disillusion of youth who don’t have hope for the future because they don’t have work.
Today, the Pontiff touched on the problem in light of a popular feast day in Argentina, St. Cajetan’s feast on Aug. 7.
Cajetan was a 16th-century Italian priest who helped the poor, founding among other things, a hospital and a bank. He is recognized as a patron of Argentina, as well as being a patron of the unemployed.
The Holy Father recalled how he lived celebrations of the feast day as archbishop of Buenos Aires: “To greet, to listen and to support the faith of those simple people … and, so often, facing the anguish of men and women that want and seek work and do not find it. I was only able to shake their hands, caress them, look into their tearful pain-ridden eyes, and weep within. Yes, weep, because it is hard in one’s life to come across a father of a family who wants to work and has no possibility to do so.”
The Pope noted how living from the state, or from other charities, is not the same as being able to work for your living.
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“Bread is easier to have because there is always a good person or institution that provides it, at least in Argentina,” he said, but “It is one thing to have bread to eat at home and another to bring it home as the fruit of one’s work. That is what confers dignity.”
The Holy Father concluded by encouraging the bishops to also do their own work: “In this feast of Saint Cajetan, may all of us Bishops be able to accompany our brothers that ask for bread and work. And may we do so with affection, closeness and prayer; and, let us also ask for that grace for ourselves: may work never be lacking, that work to which the Lord sends us and which confers dignity on us.”
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full text: https://zenit.org/articles/popes-letter-to-argentinas-bishops-for-feast-of-st-cajetan/