On Friday 23rd March, interns form the Catholic Bishop’s Conference Faith in Politics scheme came to visit the Caritas offices and learn about the social action work goes on the Diocese of Westminster. The day began with a brief introduction from our director John Coleby, who explained about the beginning of many Caritas organisation in the UK. In 2010 during his visit to this country Pope Benedict XVI expressed a surprise that there was little to no central organisation of the main Caritas work that was going on in parishes all over the country. From this, he issued a Moto Proprio to the English speaking world to set up Caritas groups. John went onto explain the mapping and recording of social action in Westminster that went on before the founding of Caritas, and how the Pope continues to be an inspiration for the direction Caritas takes.
After an introduction form the Director, Jackie Tominey, Assistant Director and Hubs manager talked about the work that the development workers do in parish communities to support existing social action project and help facilitate the development of new ones. Jackie also discussed the importance of the Love in Action programme for explaining the theological background to our duty to the Common Good. Jackie explained that ‘we should all see the face of Christ in those we serve’.
After getting grips with the structure of Caritas Westminster, the interns then heard from Development workers Finola and Edd on their work with homelessness and refugees respectively.
After a short break Service Managers of the Deaf Service, Caritas St Joseph’s and the Volunteer Service talked about their work in only getting parishes more to be more inclusive and providing a direct service in the form of the lifelong learning centre St Joseph’s and the Deaf pastoral work across the Diocese. Lastly John returned and talked about Caritas Bakhita House and Human Trafficking.
The day was a chance for the interns to understand Caritas and what the realities of social action are in a diocese. There was lots of lively discussion centred around the role of the church in politics and what more it can do to improve the lives of the most vulnerable in society.