The first venue is St George’s in Norwich, covering the parishes of Norfolk, on Saturday March 28. Similar events will be held covering Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
The theme of the Festival is ‘Celebrate Sharing God’s Love’. We have an enormous amount to celebrate when we share God’s love – after all, His love is infinite, so the possibilities are endless! But how can we share God’s love? When Jesus says, ‘what you do to the least of these, you do unto me’ (Mt 25) he is saying very clearly that we must see Christ in every person we encounter. We are also called, by our baptism, to be Christ in the world. When we help our neighbour, then, we are giving them Christ’s love. We’re not simply doing a good deed: we’re giving God’s love to our neighbour. And that’s something to celebrate!
‘Caritas’ means ‘love in action’, so the Caritas Festival is an opportunity for us to celebrate and share with each other, how we put our faith into action. On this day of celebration, we will gather first in the church, where we will be joined by the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Norwich. Bishop Alan will celebrate Mass at 10am with priests of the diocese.
The Festival will then be opened by Bishop Alan and the Lord Mayor. Groups from parishes who are involved in social outreach work – sharing God’s love – will be in the hall from 10.30am. CAFOD, SVP, Prison Fellowship, Justice & Peace, Secular Franciscan Order, Norfolk Knitters & Stitchers and others, will all be there with information about the work they do. A number of groups will also give talks about their work, for us to learn more. With refreshments available throughout the day until 4pm, there’s plenty of time to come and see what’s going on in your area.
Members of the Diocesan Caritas Commission will also be at the Festival, so do come and say hello! We will be able to tell you more about the work of Caritas and will have information about Catholic Social Teaching – the underpinning of all that we do.
We would also encourage you to fill in the Caritas Questionnaire about what your group is doing, which will give us a better picture of what’s happening around the diocese. You can do this online: https://rcdea.org.uk/caritas-questionnaire/ – or if you prefer, there will be someone to help you fill it in at the Festival.
If you feel inspired, you may consider getting involved, either with a group in your parish, with Caritas, or maybe you’ll know of a new project that needs setting up. Let’s celebrate all that we do in God’s name and ask that the Holy Spirit shows each one of us how God would like us to share His love with our neighbour.
For more information, email Jacinta: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pictured above is the commissioning of the Caritas East Anglia team by Bishop Alan.