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Delivering food, shelter, and hope to the poorest of the poor
Cross Catholic Outreach was recently blessed to receive a visit from His Eminence Álvaro Leonel Cardinal Ramazzini Imeri. Elevated to the College of Cardinals just a few months ago by Pope Francis because of his love for the poor, Cardinal Ramazzini led devotions at our ofﬁce, met individually with our staff and concluded his visit with a Mass at St. Coleman’s Catholic Church in Pompano Beach, Florida. This year, Cross Catholic Outreach began providing food and medical supplies to the poor in Cardinal Ramazzini’s Diocese of Huehuetenago in Guatemala.
I have found in many communities of poor people in Guatemala a great sense of solidarity toward others who are poorer than them. Jesus said it is better to give than to receive. That is to say, the dynamic of the Christian spirit is always to forget myself and to think about others, and when I do, that others must do it, not to take advantage of others, not to be liked by others, but to truly seek the good and the well-being of others because the most important commandment is to love God and love your neighbor. When I live in this dynamic of forgetting myself because I want to live the love of God by loving others — because I can’t see God, but I can see my neighbor — that results in the presence of one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit in our lives is joy.
Guatemala is one of the countries where one can ﬁnd the greatest contrasts between being well and living under conditions that
I can even call subhuman. When I speak of subhuman living conditions, I am thinking of the thousands of thousands of children who are condemned to suffer chronic child malnutrition… This is dramatic, it is tragic and it really makes me angry to have to say this, because Guatemala has many natural resources.
The concept of development that we manage from the social endowment of the Church is, in the words of Saint Paul VI, in the encyclical, in the development of peoples to move from less human life conditions to more human life conditions. This then means that people have a healthy, nutritious diet. That they have a stable, well-grounded job with all the social security conditions. That they have decent housing, that they have access to formal education, and that they also have the ability to develop their qualities, to develop their capabilities and talents. That is the concept that I follow when we talk about integral human development.