Charity Leaders of the Americas on Retreat

Organized by Pontifical Council Cor Unum

GUADALAJARA, Mexico, June 1, 2008 ( Some 500 leaders of national and local Caritas and Catholic Charities organizations from across the Americas will participate in spiritual exercises this week in Guadalajara.

The Pontifical Council Cor Unum announced Friday that the dicastery charged with orienting and coordinating the Church’s charitable activities “has proposed this gathering as a school for deepening faith.”

The five-day retreat, which begins Monday, will be directed by Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the Pontifical Household.

Benedict XVI sent the participants a message in which he invited “all to intensify their friendship with the Lord Jesus. This divine dimension of love characterizes the Church’s charitable organizations and makes their activity irreplaceable.”

Father Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA, will join a delegation of more than 70 Catholic Charities leaders participating in the retreat.

“I hope that this will be an opportunity for the leadership of Catholic Charities agencies to take time out of their extremely busy and important work to reflect more deeply on the holiness of the work we do,” the priest said in a statement released today. “It will also provide us an opportunity to meet with, exchange experiences, and pray with our counterparts throughout the Western Hemisphere.”