The Caritas Sunday was celebrated in different diocese in Serbia on 14th of December. In the city of Sabac it was celebrated with a solemn Mass and a presentation in the city library, on which were present the Belgrade Archbishop Stanislav Hocevar, the Orthodox Bishop of Sabac Lavrentije Trifunovic and the Mayor of Sabac Nebojsa Zelenovic. The parish Caritas Sabac was very active during and after the floods this year in Serbia, providing assistance to the flooded people.
The Belgrade Archbishop Msgr. Stanislav Hocevar, who celebrated the Mass, said that this Mass is a prayer for those who lost their lives during the floods and he invited all the people present to pray also for those who are fighting for their lives in our country, where there is a strong snow and cold. The Archbishop Hocevar pointed out that we need to know how to predict natural disasters:
“We need to overtake these kind of events, predict everything. Where there is love it’s impossible that we are not present where there are great needs. Different difficulties are not the biggest problem, the problem is if love doesn’t inspire us to respond to the biggest needs“.
On this solemn Mass were present also the Caritas workers and volunteers from Sabac, Valjevo, Krupanj and Belgrade, among which was also a great number of members of the Orthodox Church, so during his homily Msgr. Hocevar spoke about the unity in diversity among Christians:
“We will never find such a great unity in diversity and diversity in unity as in God, who is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Only people living the mistery of God can live in diversity.
We pray that all the faithful, belonging to any Church, can have this strength: overtake everything, predict everything. We pray for all the Caritas workers, that they might have the power to save lives, but also that all the Caritas workers could see how the Kingdom of God grows among them, unity in diversity“.
After the Mass there was a presentation of the work of Caritas Sabac in the city library, on which were the Orthodox Bishop of Sabac Lavrentije Trifunovic, the Mayor of Sabac Nebojsa Zelenovic and many others. The Mass and the presentation were enriched by the songs of the Ecumenical Male Choir from Belgrade, which testimonies through music the motto of it’s existence: unity in diversity. During the presentation the participants had a chance to see the film about the work of Caritas Sabac, in the assistance to the people from the flooded areas from the start of this natural disaster, by distributing meals for the evacuees and for all of those who helped make bulwarks on the river, distributing the humanitarian aid, schoolbags for the first graders, construction material and providing assistance to the elderly in their every day activities. This film was enriched by the experiences of the beneficiaries from the Sabac region, to whom, as many of them said “Caritas arrived when no other organization could“ and whose assistance means a lot. The means given through the Caritas network to assist the flooded in the Sabac region are around 400.000 euro.
Miroljub Nikolic, the Director of Caritas Sabac, spoke to the present, saying that it’s an honor for him for being a citizen of Sabac, a Christian and a member of Caritas:
“What Caritas promotes is the power of communion – that we work together. I’m proud of being a Christian, because when the Churches collaborate together they can do more. I’m proud of being a member of Caritas. In Caritas we are all like a big family, when something happens we are here to help those who suffer. Then we show in a very concrete way what people can do when they get connected“.
The Mayor of Sabac Nebojsa Zelenovic said that the city of Sabac owns a great gratitude to Caritas, that he was involved from the begging in all the activities and that the energy of the Caritas workers surprised him. He pointed out that the collaboration of Caritas with the city government will continue and that in the budget for 2015 the city of Sabac will increase it’s means for the social protection for 20%, so that every elderly household could have home care provided by Caritas.
The Orthodox Bishop of Sabac Lavrentije Trifunovic also spoke to the people present:
“It’s a great pleasure for me as the Bishop of Sabac to be here to say my words of gratitude together with all the others. I’m very happy that in our city we have our Roman Catholic brothers, who are above us in practical living. The Catholic Church tries to live the faith in life. We Orthodox can learn a lot from our Catholic brothers about the practical application of the Gospel in life. We need to serve God through our hearts and through our neighbors. Caritas reminds us not to forget that next to us there are people who are hungry, thirsty, who are spiritually hungry. We need to try and not forget that we are social beings and that we did to Christ what we do to one of our brothers. We Orthodox can learn a lot on your work. May the Lord help you to be a good example for others“.
Belgrade Archbishop and President of Caritas Serbia Msgr. Stanislav Hocevar followed after the speech of Bishop Lavrentije, saying that before this presentation we celebrated the Holy Mass, because the love for God and for our neighbor are equally important. He said that the floods have shown not how many difficulties or natural disasters there are, but how important is the person. He pointed out that the synergy of different Caritas workers was most visible in Sabac, so he thanked all the Caritas staff, but he also said that it’s important to look at the future:
“We are not here for the gratitude and acknowledgement, we are not here to look at the past, but to the future. I would like that we have present that we are invited to help each other, that we are here for one another“, said Msgr. Hocevar.
Msgr. Hocevar said also that it’s important to prevent situations of bigger poverty, addiction, that it’s not important only to cure, but also to prevent. He also invited all the media to use their role in promoting good values, developing a new society in which there will be no borders among people, but there would be unity in diversity.