Jean Luc Moens, President of Fidesco International
We are especially grateful to the Holy Father for proclaiming a day of reflection on the occasion of the European Year of Voluntary Service with the collaboration of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”. In effect, it is very important to emphasize that many Catholics dedicate themselves to voluntary service in our society, with discretion and often in places of great suffering. On our part, as an organization that sends volunteers trained for international solidarity, we consider that such an event can give rise to new vocations of self-giving and service, especially among young people who have a great potential for generosity and who try to live up to their ideals. Pope Benedict XVI has placed his pontificate under the sign of charity by publishing his Encyclical “Deus Caritas Est” in 2005. The Audience of November 11 coincides with this priority of the Pope, which is to promote an authentic charity, rooted in the heart of God. We hope that the appeal, which he will make on that occasion may touch the heart of many young people, helping them to fulfill their choice of voluntary service, of service to the poor, of sharing the talents that they have received and in this way, they may discover that “there is more joy in giving than receiving” (Act 20,35). This is the reason why the presence of young volunteers with the Pope on the occasion of this event seems especially important.
Food Bank Foundation
Marco Lucchini, President of Food Bank
In the Encyclical “Spe Salvi”, the Holy Father enlightens us with these words: “First of all, we must acknowledge that incremental progress is possible only in the material sphere. [...] Yet in the field of ethical awareness and moral decision-making, there is no similar possibility of accumulation for the simple reason that man's freedom is always new and he must always make his decisions anew. [...] Freedom presupposes that in fundamental decisions, every person and every generation is a new beginning.” 24
I think that volunteering service is one of the most meaningful human expresions of freedom. In this period of social crisis, I find it necessary to deepen the reasons of my commitment towards the suffering, in order not to end up drifted by cynism and disappointment since all my effort does not seem to serve any purpose. I am looking forward to this important event and especially to the words of the Holy Father as the possibility for a new beginning to strengthen my faith in Christ in my daily behavior, in a time where it seems that the fundamental law of human life is “Carpe Diem” and not Charity.