On Thursday 18th of December in the seat of Belgrade Archbishopic a spiritual retreat for the Caritas staff was held, led by the Belgrade Archbishop Msgr. Stanislav Hocevar. Members of the Caritas staff from Belgrade, Obrenovac, Sabac, Valjevo, Aleksinac, Vranje, Ub and Krupanj were present on this gathering.
With an initiative of the Archbishop of Belgrade and President of Caritas every year, before Easter and before Christmas is being held a spiritual retreat for the Caritas staff. This year the Christmas retreat was more numerous, because of the presence of a great number of people engaged in the project of assistance to the flooded families. Msgr. Hocevar explained that this is a chance for a spiritual renewal for all the Caritas staff members, regardless of their faith, so they can be prepared for future engagement. He invited all the people present not to think about their function in Caritas, but to think about who they are, because “Caritas is not just a function, but it’s necessary to live Caritas – the love, to see the needs of the persons around us and have the strength to help them“.
After the introductory prayer, the reading and the interpretation of a biblical text, the participants had the chance to think and to talk about the biggest problems of contemporary people and contemporary society, with special reference to the importance of the family. Caritas staff, which is actively involved in field work, as the members of the teams of psycho-social support: psychologists, social workers and nurses, shared the experiences of the problems of families they are in contact with, after which a common dialogue continued. From these experiences a great number of dysfunctional families was identified, in which the interpersonal relations are bad, in which spiritual and material poverty are present, the members are more oriented on the material state, but also outraged for it, in which the elderly are abandoned and ignored…
The experience shows that those families, in which interpersonal relations and communication are on a higher level, overcame the difficult situation after the floods on an easier way and they organised themselves faster to change the situation, regardless of their material state. The Archbishop said that it’s important that Caritas promotes the importance of the family, as a basic cell of the society, as also that this year all the Catholic Church gave a special importance to the family, organizing an extraordinary Synod of bishops about this topic. He invited all the people present to think about what is important to do so that the family would receive the right importance, the one it has in the eyes of the God the Father. He pointed out that the person, in the center of it’s family, is important, as also that the Christianity gives the right comprehension about the man and women, seen as persons. He said that Christmas, which is ahead of us, is such an important holiday, because a man – person is in it’s center. The final message of the Archbishop was that the real Caritas is only God and that the representatives of Caritas are invited to be his open arms.