A gathering of fifty were addressed by the Co-ordinator, Stuart Hanlon, who gave the background to the decision by Trustees of the Diocese. He outlined the advantages of being a member of the Caritas network together with results from the questionnaire sent to all parishes. The extent of social action in the Diocese was a surprise to all – in total 143 projects, some clearly linked to CAFOD, SVP and Justice and Peace. Eighty were initiatives from the parishes themselves.
Dr Phil McCarthy, Director of Caritas Social Action Network, spoke about the origins of Caritas which was started in Germany by a local priest and then extended to Caritas Internationalis and now to the UK. His aspiration is for all dioceses to join the network, and he was delighted to welcome Hallam as its latest member.
Bishop Ralph followed this talk noting that this event was essentially a celebration of social action. This was enacted in the form of prayer, worship and song prepared by Sr Clare Grimes setting the event in its true context, to quote Pope Francis: “Everyone should be able to experience the joy of being loved by God, the joy of Salvation! It is a gift that one cannot keep to oneself, but it is to be shared.”
Catherine Hand, Irvine Peacock and Fr Shaun Smith (representing Coping With Loss, Credit Union and Food Banks) gave presentations and described the positive benefits of their projects to people they serve and participating parishes.
We hope Caritas will offer support as required to projects and develop meaningful networks to extend the outstanding work of social action in place.
If you have any comments, enquiries or suggestions please contact Susan Tym, firstname.lastname@example.org, 0114 2566407.