11/13/2020, 14.44
INDIA
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Card Gracias: On the Day of the Poor the Indian Church offers help and love

by Oswald Gracias

The Church in India has reached out to the poor during this pandemic. On this World Day of the Poor, we continue with the words of Mother Teresa: "Give your hands to serve and your hearts to love". We shall stretch out our hands to serve, hope and heal.

 

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Mother Teresa, my personal friend, often said that “charity and love are the same thing: with charity you give love, so don't just give money, but stretch out your hand instead . . .”

The hands of the Church in India stretch out to the poor, but there is much more we can do. Love is not patronising. Love is not about pity. Love is about LOVE.

The Church in India has reached out to the poor during this pandemic. On this World Day of the Poor, we continue with the words of Mother Teresa: "Give your hands to serve and your hearts to love".

We will stretch out our hands to serve, hope and heal, for the long-term rehabilitation of our people, to alleviate the suffering from hunger and poverty, homelessness and misery.

In India this year, World Day of the Poor is celebrated during Diwali, the "Festival of Lights".

The Light of love and charity spread by the Church is a soft beam of light in the midst of so much misery, poverty, and hunger. Each of us, through baptism and confirmation, is called to be a "Light of the world". We should brighten up the world.

The light should shine. As in the Sunday Gospel, our light should not be hidden or buried. Mother Teresa was an example of how to be the Hand of Jesus, giving healing, hope and love, and comfort and joy with the gentle touch of Jesus.

Although we are a tiny minority, the Catholic Church in India gave relief and aid to more than 22 million people during the pandemic, spending 1.3 billion rupees (US$ 17.3 million).

I wrote to all the bishops in India and asked them to work with Caritas to urgently provide assistance to stranded migrant workers.

All 134 dioceses and 174 bishops have been intensely involved, reaching out to provide food, water, shelter and medical assistance when required.

To celebrate World Day of the Poor 2020, I asked my disaster management team to see new ways and initiatives to revitalise our work and reach out to the poor in India.

We continue to help people with food and jobs, providing training to people to get jobs, helping our children and young adults with money to pay tuition fees so that their education can continue.

We are stretching our hands to ensure the future of our emerging generation and fulfill the Church's mission of love, justice, freedom and peace.

Whilst celebrating the World Day of the Poor, the Church reminds us that “we can always do more”.

The Church challenges us to do more for dignity, growth, freedom and hope, especially for the poor and vulnerable.

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