In the June edition of Catholic East Anglia there was an article announcing that I’d been appointed as the new Caritas Development Worker for the diocese. ‘What does that mean?’ you may be asking – or even ‘What does that have to do with me?’ If so – read on.
Caritas is a Latin word meaning ‘charity’, otherwise described as ‘love in action.’ With that in mind, you will have a clue as to why an international Catholic organisation calling itself Caritas may have some relevance to our faith and to our mission in the world.
We are all called, as Christians, to offer charity – or love – to our neighbours. Jesus commands us to ‘love our neighbour as ourselves’. Indeed, Jesus goes on to tell us that on these two commandments – ‘Love God’ and ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ – hang the whole Law! (Mt 22:37-40) So this ‘caritas’ – this ‘charity’ – this ‘love in action’ – seems to be central to what we Christians are about.
This is why Caritas was set up as an international Catholic organisation – to serve (love) God by serving (loving) our sisters and brothers in need. In England and Wales, Caritas is part of the Bishops Conference and many dioceses are members of the organisation, as are many charities.
My role as the Caritas Development Worker is to oversee all of this social outreach work in the diocese.
In East Anglia, many people are doing charitable work – putting their faith into action – and it’s wonderful to see articles in every edition of Catholic East Anglia about these projects. Let’s celebrate these achievements.
In the next few weeks every parish will be invited to fill in a short questionnaire so we can see what social outreach work is currently happening. This may be as an SVP conference, or working at the local night shelter, contributing to a food bank, running a community kitchen or community fridge, welcoming refugees or giving shelter to the homeless in winter.
You may be doing something with other Christians, eg the Street Pastors, or it may be something not connected to church at all. Whatever you are doing, if it is in line with Catholic teaching, I want to hear about it.
We will be celebrating our ‘love in action’ in a Festival, which will take place in various locations around the diocese. This will be a celebration of sharing God’s love – an opportunity to represent your organisation and show others what you do. It will also be an opportunity to find out about the different ways in which you might be able to get involved. If you feel that God is inviting you to get involved, but you don’t know how, this is the event for you! There will be Festival events in different areas of the diocese. Look out for one near you. More details will follow in future editions.
For information about the Festival, go to: www.rcdea.org.uk/caritas-east-anglia
If you would like to help with the work of Caritas East Anglia, please contact Jacinta at: firstname.lastname@example.org
In the next edition of the paper I will be talking about Catholic Social Teaching. If you’ve not heard that phrase before, or if you’ve heard it and you’re not sure what it’s all about, you are not alone! Pick up the next edition of the paper, where I will explain.
Pictured top is Jacinta Goode, centre front, with some of the Caritas East Anglia team.