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JSRI director moderates for International Caritas Assembly

Loyola press release - July 11, 2011

The Rev. Fred Kammer, S.J., J.D., director of Loyola University New Orleans’ Jesuit Social Research Institute, served as moderator for the weeklong General Assembly of Caritas Internationalis in Rome, Italy. This year’s assembly theme was “One Human Family, Zero Poverty.”

Representatives from 130 Caritas organizations from around the world came to the 19th General Assembly on May 22-27, which marked the 60th anniversary of the founding confederation. Caritas Internationalis was founded in 1951 by 13 Catholic charitable organizations, including Catholic Charities USA, to better coordinate the Church’s humanitarian work. Caritas members support millions of impoverished people through programs ranging from disaster risk reduction, relief and reconstruction, peace-building and reconciliation, climate mitigation and food security, primary health care, and education.

“In the second decade of the 21st century, however, we face a series of challenges that threaten to halt or even reverse that progress,” remarked Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras. “Hunger is increasing, the number of humanitarian emergencies is growing, and climate change will cause further harm. Caritas has a vision for our world as one human family where no one dies because of poverty and injustice. For this reason, over the coming years we will strive to fulfill that vision.”

Caritas members at the general assembly heard from Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, SDB, the secretary of state to the Holy See, as presider at its opening Eucharist. During the week that followed, the General Assembly was addressed by Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum; Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, outgoing Secretary-General Lesley-Anne Knight, and others. At the conclusion of the assembly, members were received by Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican on Friday, May 27.

The general assembly business guided by Fr. Kammer included presentations regarding the ongoing revisions of the confederation’s statutes and rules. This has been a multi-year process of various committees of Caritas, and for two years Fr. Kammer has been the moderator the meetings of the thirty-member executive committee as they have considered these revisions.

Father Kammer was the president and CEO of Catholic Charities USA from 1992 to 2001. In that capacity he was active in the international confederation and its vice-president for the North America regional group consisting of Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Relief Services, the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.