The Church's deepest nature is expressed in her three-fold responsibility: of proclaiming the word of God (kerygma-martyria), celebrating the sacraments (leitourgia), and exercising the ministry of charity (diakonia). These duties presuppose each other and are inseparable. For the Church, charity is not a kind of welfare activity which could equally well be left to others, but is a part of her nature, an indispensable expression of her very being.
Pope Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Deus Caritas Est
CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano via Catholic Press
Pope Benedict XVI kisses a child during his visit to St. Rita Parish, Benin, 2011.