Portugal, Turkey, Spain

Portugal: Missionary Family Days Next September 21-22 the Paul VI Centre in Fatima will host the Misssionary Days 2014 and the third National Days of Youth Pastoral Care, centered on the theme: “The Family, a project…”. “Workshops will focus on various family-related themes, thereby reiterating our duty to be near the families with benevolence, supporting their yearning to lead a better life, to be part of a community of faith, sharing, respect, sensitivity, growth and solidarity”, said the national chairman of the Pontifical Missionary Works Fr António Lopes in his opening speech. For the priest, “it is necessary to warn against whatever may harm the marriage institution internally and externally, such as violence, jealousy, envy, falsehood, whilst protecting the community and its members as a patrimony of values from a contemporary culture that exalts individuals and prompts individualistic drives”. The statement underlines that the theme of the Days is meant “to contribute to the reflections and actions called for by Pope Francis, for whom the family is a major concern”, with an extraordinary Synod in 2014, and an ordinary one in 2015, that will address the pastoral challenges involving the family in the framework of evangelization. “The family is the place for dialogue. Through words, children learn to give a name to the surrounding world, to express their feelings, love, fear, trust and their wishes, and to formulate countless questions. It is the place where they learn about the relationship between love and truth, forgiveness, solidarity, I, Us, the notion of otherness”, said Fr Lopes in the conclusions of the pastoral document. Further details on the speeches planned in the two days are available at: http://portal.ecclesia.pt/pjuvenil/site/.Turkey: letter to the Pope for Syrian and Iraqi refugees A letter to Pope Francis demanding support in the identification of a “realistic and long-lasting solution” for refugees was sent by Caritas Turkey, committed in providing aid to Syrian and Iraqi refugees, without religious nor ethnic distinctions. “Refugees – writes Caritas Turkey – need permanent support such as working permits or the possibility of settling down in Turkey. We should help refugees so that their situation as exiles may be lived in human, decent conditions. Before such misery we’re financially impotent. We call upon you, Your Holiness -Caritas writes in the letter – to disseminate our cry of alarm so that a solution may be found”. Along with the letter Caritas also published the personal testimony of families displaced from Iraq, forced to flee from the militia of the Islamic Caliphate (IS), leaving everything behind them: documents, savings, personal objects. The families call upon the international community to support their flight to safer Countries where they can go on with their lives. Spain: Daughters of Charity and local authorities help the poor The Municipality of Seville, Spain, renewed the agreement with the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity for the implementation of the project of the social canteen “Soup Kitchen Our Lady of the Rosary”, with a 100 thousand euro grant from the local Council. This soup kitchen is addressed to people and families with serious economic problems or in situations of social exclusion, to those with physical problems or experiencing personal and family situations deserving special attention. The canteen, located in via Pagés del Corro, in the Triana neighbourhood, will seek to give an answer to various needs. It will provide warm meals every day of the year and hand out food baskets; distribute personal hygiene products and underwear; hand out clothing of all kinds and provide social assistance, carried out via reception and evaluation interviews, information and consultancy services on existing private and public resources, handling of documentation, coordination with other institutions, personalized integration itineraries along with monthly volunteering training courses. The soup kitchen is open all year round catering for an average of 250 people a day. It enjoys the help of numerous volunteers.

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