Caritas Diocesana Agrigento

The Diocesan Caritas is the pastoral organization created by the Bishop in order to promote, in collaboration with other organizations, the testimony of charity in the church diocesan community and in other minor communities, especially parochial, in ways suited to the times and needs, in order to achieve an integral human development, justice and peace, with particular attention to the last two, and with a predominantly pedagogical function.” (Art.1 Statute)

Caritas therefore assumes a primarily pedagogical function: “its spiritual aspect is not measured by numbers and budgets, but by its capacity to sensitize the local Church and the faithful to the sense and duties of charity in ways adequate to need and to the times” (Paul VI -1972).
The Diocesan Caritas aims to promote a change in the way of thinking and living within the Christian community, passing from a solidarity lived individually to a community demonstration of charity, from an episodic solidarity to a style of charity capable of listening to and receiving the cry of the poor every day, from a first aid solidarity, which treats the wounds of society to a charity that can also recognize and eradicate the roots of poverty and injustice.

In short, the Diocesan Caritas has the task of: animating the community to the sense of charity and justice and coordinating groups and initiatives for a better service to the community and society.
From this point of view, the Diocesan Caritas, in organic connection with the parochial Caritas, identifies the direction of the path, sustains training and planning, seeks to unify and aid all the expressions of charity present in the Diocese with all its strengths and, as far as possible, avoid becoming an operational group itself.

OUR MISSION
In order to promote the proclamation and demonstration of charity, heart of the Gospel and sign of the Kingdom of God that is coming, the following tasks are entrusted to the Diocesan Caritas: to deepen the biblical and theological motivations for charity; to prepare training courses and propose concrete initiatives of solidarity so that charity may be at the center of life of the diocese, of the parishes, of the families, of the groups and of every person; to promote and accompany the Parochial Caritas in taking care of the coordination of welfare and charitable initiatives and works of parishes and Christian associations, to organize in collaboration with Caritas Italiana and coordinate emergency interventions in the event of public calamities at the diocesan level in collaboration with other organizations of Christian or secular inspiration; to carry out studies and research to discover the needs that are present in the diocesan territory, identify their causes and stimulate both the legislative and operational intervention of civil institutions, to promote civil service, voluntary service and initiatives for peace and justice with appropriate educational programs; to evangelize the world of politics and economics and involve them in initiatives aimed at discovering their redemptive dimension; to contribute to the human and social development of Third World countries by raising public awareness, providing services, providing economic aid; to coordinate the initiatives of various Christian-inspired groups and movements, to stimulate, in collaboration with Christian and public organizations, the rise of pedagogical services as a concrete demonstration of charity.


THE METHOD: LISTEN – OBSERVE – DISCERN TO ENCOURAGE

To Listen
Meeting with the other begins with Listening. “Listening is the first step to entering into a relationship, after having noticed those around us. It is about coming out of our views and our patterns; it is willingness to make space for the other and the reality around us; it is taking part in their life, the ability to share the life that is told to us; it is a style, an attitude to grasp and phases full of presences, silences, situations and dramas, present in the territory.” (Ferdinandi S., Rooted and Grounded in Charity, EDB, Bologna 2006, p. 342)

To Observe
After listening, it is time to look around and find a key to reading the reality that surrounds us, to rediscover its needs and resources. “To observe is becoming aware of the person next to us and of what happens, to detect the many problems, the traditional poverty, to which are always added the new phenomena of poverty, marginalization and discomfort. It allows you to identify the various resources and individual and group availability present in the territory.  […]
Observation permits the systematic and objective detection of situations, it enables treatment and the dissemination of collected data and information, to increase the awareness of public opinion and the involvement of the ecclesiastic community and public institutions in the process of research and design of solutions to problems.” (Ferdinandi S., Rooted and Grounded in Charity, EDB, Bologna 2006, p. 343)

To Discern to Encourage
“To discern is to read and understand, with human competence and with the criteria of faith, many situations of poverty; it is to identify and analyze the mechanisms, the causes, the “structures of sin” that generate poverty; it is also to promote specific ways and forms to sensitize, empower and involve the community.” (Ferdinandi S., Rooted and Grounded in Charity, EDB, Bologna 2006, p.354)