The Association ‘Comunità Papa Giovanni XXIII’ (Association Pope John XXIII) is an International Lay Association of Pontifical Right recognised by the Pontifical Council for the Laity on October 7th 1998. The Association was recognised by the Italian Government on July 5th 1972 (D.P.R. n.596 05/07/72). It is also recognised as an ONLUS (Non Profit Organisation of Social Utility), with reference to its social and health assistance activities. The Association is made up of people of different ages and states of life who share their life directly with the poor and the least. The members are also committed to removing the causes of poverty and marginalisation and to being the voice of the voiceless through non-violent action and means. They work on a volunteer basis. The Association is present in Italy and throughout the world in: Albania, Australia, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Congo, Croatia, India, Kenya, Russia, San Marino, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Venezuela and Zambia.
The history of the Association began in 1968 as a result of time spent with young people and disabled people in schools and holiday camps. This, and other experiences, led to the awareness of a need to spend time and share life with all those who are marginalised and in need. In 1973 the first ‘family homes’ were born. These are large families where single people or couples, helped by volunteers, become mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers of people with disabilities, unmarried mothers, ex prisoners, alcoholics, recovering drug addicts, women/girls set free from prostitution. At present there are approximately two hundred such family homes in Italy and more throughout the world. The Association also offers different forms of help to families outside the Association who are open to foster care. This includes periodical training and self-support groups.
Living with the poor and the least throughout the world has also given rise to the development of:
Emergency shelters; open families; houses of prayer; houses of fraternity; co-operatives and day-centres; therapeutic communities for drug-addicts; centres for alcoholics; different ways of sharing life with children, adolescents, young people in trouble, disabled people, prisoners, gypsies, drug addicts, alcoholics, homeless people, immigrants, the elderly, victims of AIDS, mothers in trouble, women/girls forced into prostitution; a commitment to developing new social and economic models; a commitment to supporting and promoting peace and conscientious objection; Operation Dove (a non-violent presence in both fronts in war-zones); missionary action; editorial activity; theatrical and musical activities and events.
The President and Legal Representative of the Association is Giovanni Paolo Ramonda.