May 15, 2015
His Eminence, Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle has been elected as the new president of Caritas Internationalis at the confederation’s 20th General Assembly in Rome.
According to Fr. Edwin Gariguez, NASSA/Caritas Philippines’ executive secretary and representative to the General Assembly, Cardinal Tagle was supported by all countries in Asia earning 91 out of the 133 votes by Caritas member countries.
He added that the election was conducted in an orderly and transparent manner, wherein each member countries are called one by one to cast their votes in front of the stage of the big plenary hall.
“I am more than happy and thankful with the election of Cardinal Tagle as President of Caritas Internationalis, not only because of the international recognition given to him being a Filipino, but more importantly, he is the right person for the job. His pastoral zeal and leadership will certainly challenge the organization to strengthen its commitment of serving the poor and the vulnerable. The poor has a special place in his heart. His pastoral ministry stems from a genuine sense of compassion like Pope Francis,” Gariguez exclaimed.
Cardinal Tagle did not have the chance to personally appear before the Assembly because he was still in the United States, receiving another honorary doctorate from a theological school. But he is expected to join the confederation on May 16 to formally assume his position.
Speaking over the phone, Tagle said “Buona sera tutti!” Thank you for your trust. I am limited in my capacities but with all of you, with the love the Jesus has poured into our hearts and in the name of all the poor people in the world, I accept this election.”
As head of Caritas Internationalis, Tagle is expected to strengthen the confederation’s works in the light of serving the most vulnerable and in living out charity and justice throughout the world.
Present in 165 countries worldwide with South Sudan as the newest member, Caritas Internationalis, formed in the 1950s, is the Catholic Church’s arm that responds to disasters, promotes integral human development and advocates on the causes of poverty and conflict.
In the Philippines, NASSA/Caritas Philippines, under the realm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, has been working with the same zeal and commitment, in the service of the poor and vulnerable.
In 2013, it started working for a three-year recovery and rehabilitation program for the families affected by the monstrous typhoon Yolanda that hit central Philippines. Today, it has already provided shelter, livelihoods and water, sanitation and hygiene facilities to over a hundred thousand individuals while moving on to building and sustaining more disaster resilient communities. NASSA/Caritas Philippines has also been strongly involved in land rights, good governance and right to food advocacies while contributing greatly to sustainable agriculture efforts in the country.
“With the election of Cardinal Tagle, who is also the first Caritas Internationalis President from Asia, it is very likely that “faith in action” will continue to flourish,” Gariguez continued.
NASSA/Caritas Philippines, which represents the country to Caritas Internationalis, pushed for Tagle’s nomination last year following the overwhelming and massive support by the global community to the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in the country.
It can be recalled that as part of the election process, the Pope has approved the nominations of Cardinal Tagle and Archbishop Youssef Soueif of Caritas Cyprus before the two candidates were presented to the general assembly for a vote.
Tagle will be replacing Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras after serving as president for eight years.
The general assembly, focusing on the theme “One Human Family Caring for Creation” started from May 12 to 17. Aside from the election of the new and other key positions, the other highlights of the general assembly is the setting of plans in the next four years on how to improve the lives of the poor amidst the challenges of inequality, migration, climate change, hunger and conflict.
Jing Rey Henderson
Senior Communications Officer
(0905) 546-9977 / 525-1924