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Second principle is Community and Participation

The Second Principle of Catholic Social Teaching is Community & Participation writes Jacinta Goode – God created us to be together, to live in community.

Recently I visited the Jesuit Refugee Service in Wapping, which is a member organisation of Caritas.  JRS UK accompanies refugees and asylum seekers during their application process for asylum in our country – the country where they have ended up by whatever route – and where they now need to ask for sanctuary. 

One lady I met explained her fear of the monthly meeting with the Home Office.  At any point she could be taken into detention, with no date for release.  She is a remarkable woman, full of joy and hope and she is very grateful to those who work and volunteer at JRS to support her and her children. 

The vast majority of asylum seekers are not allowed to work, but this lady finds ways to contribute to the society she has found herself in.  She visits the Centre every week to help, to share her considerable culinary skills and to support others.  JRS UK welcomes asylum seekers and offers ways for all to participate in their community.

In September, I attended a national Caritas leadership meeting.  Amongst the inspiring speakers was Kevin from L’Arche, who told us the story of one woman with severe learning disabilities who, although she couldn’t speak, had the use of only one limb and carried huge psychological scars from her time in uncaring institutions, was nonetheless able to get her views and wishes across.  

She was just as valued a member of the community as anyone else.  And her friendship had clearly been so important to Kevin.  When she died, people travelled to her funeral from across the world, such was her impact on those who knew her.  L’Arche communities are beautiful examples of how people with and without learning disabilities are able to live together as friends, all participating in the life of the community.

God created us to be together, to live in community (Gen 1&2).  To live as a community means to live for the good of each other, for everyone to be able to participate and contribute as equally valued members of that community.  It means to share the ups and downs of the everyday, to walk alongside our neighbour as our equal. 

In what ways could I welcome, include, or walk with, my neighbour?  In what ways could my parish be more inclusive?  In our diocese, we have had Masses for the deaf community.  Other dioceses have organised Masses of inclusion for other marginalised groups.  If you would like support in organising such an event, please contact me.

You can contact Jacinta at

You can contact Jacinta at

Jacinta Goode

Caritas Development Worker

Diocese of East Anglia