Caritas – Hong Kong will be entering its 7th decade in July 2013. As to celebrate its 60th anniversary, Caritas – Hong Kong is going to organize an International Conference from 15th to 18th May, 2013 with the theme “Visioning the Future – Partnership in Building a Relational Society”.
Theme of the International Conference
Each year, Caritas – Hong Kong will organize an annual retreat for the heads of the executive teams, divisions and services to review the work done and to formulate future work plan. In February 2012, the theme of “Relational Poverty” was selected for sharing and fruitful discussions took place at the retreat. Consequently, it was resolved that the management would share with the staff members the concerns so as to find new ways to address the issue. Furthermore, it was initiated that the International Conference will adopt the theme of “Relational Poverty”. It is anticipated that the Conference will provide an opportunity for mutual learning between the local and overseas participants. With insights gained, our staff can formulate new direction and strategies to better serve the community with our Caritas mission in the coming decade.
Material and economic poverty has been a concern of all nations. However His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, in his encyclical letter on the Integral Human Development in Charity and Truth, has pointed out that, “If we look closely at other kinds of poverty, including material forms, we see that they are born from isolation, from not being loved or from difficulties in being able to love.” According to Pope Benedict XVI, isolation is being one of the deepest forms of poverty a person can experience. (Caritas in Veritate – Love in Truth, paragraph 53)
Truly, our society is experiencing a new form of poverty in human relations as described by the Holy Father. This relational poverty, resulting from isolation in people, family and society is growing. It affects the integral development and the well-being of people of all age groups as well from different levels of society, especially the youngest, the oldest, the vulnerable and the deprived. We find that not only family members are disconnected from each other, the vulnerable lack relational support, the deprived groups are socially excluded and people lack confidence in their government.
The International Conference will provide an opportunity for Caritas – Hong Kong to invite members of Caritas Internationalis as well as our service partners from overseas, Mainland China and Hong Kong to participate in the event to share experiences. Through the speeches of our guest speakers and exchange of knowledge and views in our discussions, participants can analyze the causes of relational poverty and learn from the global experience to develop strategies to address the issue. It is hoped that after the Conference, our staff members and the delegates of different nations will work in collaboration to strengthen the spirit of relational support in the home, workplace, neighbourhood communities and society through our charity service. We believe that with our unwavering dedication and partnership, we would strive to build a relational organization and a caring society founded on love and social justice.