Home Catholic Church & Asia Pope Francis underscores role of volunteerism in societal growth

Pope Francis underscores role of volunteerism in societal growth

Pope Francis on Monday urged the public to embrace the spirit of selfless service and reminded them of the role of volunteer work in personal and community development.

“Those who sacrifice their time and effort discover that whatever they give without expecting anything in return is never lost, but becomes instead a great treasure,” said Pope Francis. 

The pontiff made the statement during his visit to the House of Mercy, a new charity in the Bayangol district of Ulaanbaatar, which was his final stop in a four-day visit to Mongolia.

Pope Francis emphasized the “indispensable” role of volunteers in the world. 

He said, “A purely generous and selfless service that people freely choose to offer to those in need, not out of concern for financial remuneration or personal benefit, but out of pure love of their neighbor.”

The pope also addressed the misconception that volunteerism is only needed in developing countries. He asserted that even in technologically advanced societies with high living standards, social welfare systems alone are insufficient to provide all necessary services.

He measured a nation’s true progress not by economic wealth or military power but “by its ability to provide for the health, education, and integral development of its people”.

Missionaries of Charity came to greet Pope Francis during his trip to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia Sept. 1-4. | Colm Flynn/EWTN via CNA
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The pope cited three common myths surrounding volunteer work. He debunked the notion that only the wealthy can engage in volunteering, emphasizing that it is often people of modest means who choose to devote themselves to caring for others.

He clarified that charitable initiatives, including those by the Catholic Church, aim to alleviate suffering, not proselytize. 

“I would like to envision this House of Mercy as a place where people of different creeds, and non-believers as well, can join efforts with local Catholics in order to offer compassionate assistance to our many brothers and sisters in the one human family,” he said 

Pope Francis discredited the idea that only financial contributions matter. While professionalism is essential in charitable work, Pope Francis said it should never transform into a business. 

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