A daily wage labourer in Pakistan holds a handout of traditional bread and curry which he has received from a charity distribution point during covid-19 lockdown 

By Vatican News staff writer

Jan 30 2021

Pope Francis sends a message of appréciation to two Belgian catholic associations that work to provide solidarity and development to the poor.

Entraide et Fraternité and Action Vivre Ensemble are both Belgian catholic organizations engaged in the fight against poverty, working for a fairer and more inclusive society by supporting development projects and solidarity.

It is to them that Pope Francis on Friday addressed a message in which he congratulated them for their fidelity and the accomplishment of their mission.

Noting that the challenges they are tackling are compounded by the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, which he said, is affecting the whole world, the Pope said the worst struck are the poorest and most neglected: “It is, therefore, more important than ever to pursue and develop the work you have undertaken. »

The Pope wholeheartedly encouraged the members of the organizations and the many volunteers who work alongside them in parishes and civil society,

“I encourage you and your partners, who fight day after day, against unacceptable poverty,” he said, adding that his gratitude also goes to donors who make their work possible thanks to financial support. 

“We all have the same objective: to build a more just and fraternal world,” he said. 

Organizations set up by Beligian Catholic Bishops

Introducing his message Pope Francis recalled the launch, in 1961, by the Catholic Bishops of Belgium of a Lenten campaign that invited the faithful to show concrete solidarity to suffering populations in Congo that had recently gained independence.   

To this end, he said, they founded the Entraide et Fraternité association, that has ever since prepared and organized the Belgian church’s lenten campaign, and gone on to extend its activities in countries all over the world.

In 1971, the Pope continued, the bishops launched the Action Vivre Ensemble, to organize the bishops’ Advent campaign and to help associations fighting poverty in Belgium itself. 

“I congratulate your two organizations,”  the Pope said, “for their faithfulness in the accomplishment of their mission and I thank all those who commit themselves to that mission as volunteers, professionals or benefactors, from the bottom of my heart.” – Vatican News