CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts — As is often the case, the current head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, has become a global figure, one who is admired. When possible, he has chosen to live simply and with humility, following the example of both Jesus and his namesake, Saint Francis of Assisi. He is not without imperative, however, as his recent efforts to end the war in Ukraine have shown. As for Pope Francis’s charities, he has been a part of it before becoming pope and after.
Charitable Efforts Pre-Papacy
Before becoming Pope Francis, Jorge Bergoglio gained attention for forgoing a lavish lifestyle – instead, he lived in a small apartment and “cooked his own supper.” However, he did not let his status as Argentina’s leading Catholic figure go to waste. He launched a renewal project that led to a focus on the country’s poor and sick. The plan was to set up 200 charitable agencies by 2016.
Bergoglio also worked with leaders to improve education and set up charitable efforts. He put a special focus on students in low-income schools. These charities have led to the modern organization Scholas Occurrentes, which has gone global.
Pope Francis’s Charitable Efforts
After his election as Pope, Francis continued to make charity a main focus. In fact, he recently promoted the Vatican’s Charity office to a major part of the Catholic Church. Since the promotion, Pope Francis’s charities have been active. One example was after the recent earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. The Pope delivered aid supplies to refugee camps in addition to money. He received the help of the Italian NGO the Rava Foundation.
With the Ukraine situation, the Pope has been following it closely. Even before the latest round of conflict, Pope Francis was assisting Ukraine. In 2016, he personally donated €6 million. The aid included not only food and clothing but medicine and therapy.
Charities Pope Francis Supports
Pope Francis applauds many Catholic charitable
organizations. Despite this, he remains realistic and committed to them. The Catholic Church’s biggest network of charities is Caritas International, which works in over 200 countries. The Pope’s authority recently led him to overhaul the structure of the organization. It was hoped the change would boost morale and then increase their efforts.
There are plenty of smaller Catholic organizations Pope Francis also works with and approves of. They list him as an inspiration and he gives back to them. One is the University College for Aspiring Missionary Doctors (CUAMM). This is an Italian research organization that works with underserved hospitals in seven African countries. The Pope praised their work as he will look to the continent himself in the future.
In the United States, he has approved of the Papal Foundation that bears his name. This organization is dedicated to delivering the pope’s message to the world- after all, he is only one man. Although based in the United States, the Papal Foundation works all over the world with vulnerable populations. It works by delivering grants to international religious communities and there are frequent stories of success.
Religious figures have taken on the world’s challenges numerous times throughout history. Pope Francis is a clear example. He always stresses that people must work together to achieve success. With Pope Francis’s charities, this message is present.
– Josh Sobchak