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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

A message for the Confo-cooperative Assembly

The Holy Father, Pope Francis has sent a video message to those who are participating in the 2016 National Assembly of Confcooperative which is taking place in Rome, focused on the theme: Protagonists in service to the country.

Video message of His Holiness, Pope Francis
to participants in the Confcooperative National Assembly

Dear partners,

I have willingly welcomed the invitation to greet you during this assembly.  We already met on February 28 last year.  With a few of you and with your President, we also met on another occasion.  I speak with you now as with friends.  One year ago I offered you some concrete encouragement.  I recall them in summary here:
  • continue to be the driving force that raises and helps the weakest members of our community and our civic society to develop, above all by establishing companies to provide work;
  • be protagonists to help establish new welfare solutions, as you have been doing;
  • manage the real cooperatives in a cooperative way, by involving all people;
  • strive to support, facilitate and encourage the lives of families.  With the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, I pointed out a prospective for joy and responsibility, but people and families should not be left alone, work and families should be harmonized;
  • assemble with determination, the good measures necessary to bring about good works; we need creativity and generosity to maximize your cooperation and to make good investments;
  • counter false cooperatives, for cooperatives should promote an economy of honesty;
  • actively participate in globalization in order to integrate development, justice and peace into the world.
In the time that has passed, the drama, and often the tragedy of migrants, terrorism without limits and the slowing of the world economy have proven these words ever more true.

Keep in mind the origins that give you strength, collaboration with your parishes, dioceses and your capability to be mindful of an enterprise holding out its hand to people in difficulty.  Create enterprise beginning with the opportunity you know only too well how to generate.  Create enterprise beginning with the needs of others and the talents you have at your disposition.  Maintain this treasure while you build a common perspective with other associations to make your common values apparent to all real cooperatives.

Today, you are meeting in assembly to make new plans and to renew your commitments.  In your assemblies there are various sentiments: aspirations, preoccupations, uncertainty about the future, willingness to offer a useful contribution, a desire to be heard, ambitions ... this is very natural.  Be guided by your commitment to the common good, the good of cooperatives and the good that cooperatives are accomplishing in your countries.  If the work of cooperatives help solidarity to grow among members, your common responsibility will be strengthened, as will your capacity to generously recognize that which others are doing and also to accept your limits.  In a word, through cooperatives, fraternity grows, as cooperatives have always experienced.  This is not only based on an investment of trust, there is more: there is fraternity - a resource which the world needs now more than ever before.  You are also witnesses of how faith animates a concrete commitment in human history and motivates generous motivations, that can improve things.  We must live this mission and share it with others.

I wish to congratulate you for the success of your assembly.  Cooperatives working together are not the majority of economies in any given country, but they are not the least important part either.  Like other companies you are used to generating income, but you also have the challenge of operating subsidiaries, in order to realize concrete solidarity, to liberate the dignity and the capacity of people and, I repeat, to produce fraternity.

Please keep these thoughts in mind throughout your entire mission.  We are in the midst of the Holy Year of Mercy.  Above all, mercy is the work of Almighty God, but mercy is also expressed through women and men.  I hope that your commitment to cooperatives will also become an expression of mercy.  Thank you.
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