An introduction to Caritas in East Anglia
New Caritas Development Worker for East Anglia, Jacinta Welch explains what Caritas is all about and what she will be doing in the role.
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: email@example.com
Pictured top is Jacinta Welch, centre front, with some of the Caritas East Anglia team.
Caritas East Anglia given a boost as Jacinta is appointed
Caritas has been given a major boost within the Diocese of East Anglia with the appointment of Jacinta Welch, from St George’s parish in Norwich, as its new Development Worker.
Caritas – which means ‘charity’ – is an international Catholic agency with member organisations which are at the heart of the Church’s mission of serving the poor, vulnerable, dispossessed and marginalized.
Caritas is inspired by Scripture, Catholic Social Teaching and by the experiences and hopes of people who are disadvantaged and living in poverty.
Jacinta, who grew up in Costessey parish, studied philosophy and theology at Heythrop College in London and then chose to come back to live in Norwich.
She said: “I’m delighted to have been appointed to serve in this way in East Anglia. Through the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels and of the Church in Catholic Social Teaching, we learn to love our neighbour as ourselves and to value everything we have as gift from God. We are called to serve God in the poor and the marginalised. I’m excited to see how the Holy Spirit leads us to serve Him in East Anglia.”
Within the diocese, the work of Caritas will be to oversee the social outreach work carried out by Catholics in East Anglia.
Jacinta said: “Much good work is happening around our diocese by a lot of people, often unseen. We want to celebrate that and in doing so, we hope to encourage others to share in the mission of the Church in serving the poor and marginalised.”
There will be much more information about the work of Caritas – what it does and how you can join in – in future editions of Catholic East Anglia, but if you would like to offer to help right now, please email Jacinta at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Caritas East Anglia will continue to be overseen by Fr David Bagstaff.
Pictured above is Jacinta Welch with Bishop Alan and Fr David Bagstaff who is the chair of Caritas East Anglia. Our Lady of Walsingham is at the centre of the diocese and Jacinta is asking people to pray for her intercession for the work of Caritas East Anglia.
Caritas – ending poverty, promoting justice and restoring dignity
Caritas East Anglia encourages, supports and co-ordinates works of social outreach in the diocese. It is a member of the Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN), the social action arm of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.
Caritas Internationalis has its headquarters in Rome – co-ordinating emergency operations, formulating development policy and advocating for a better world for everyone. All national Caritas organisations are members of their own regional Caritas networks and the international confederation.
From the founding of the first Caritas in Germany in 1897, to the setting up of Caritas Internationalis in 1951, until today, Caritas has a rich history of listening respectfully to the suffering of the poor and giving them the tools to transform their own lives. The deep moral and spiritual principles of dignity, justice, solidarity and stewardship still guide Caritas today.