New Parish Caritas Reps Learn About All Things Caritas at Their Introductory Workshop


Despite the onset of Storm Denis, and multiple train cancellations, twenty (out of the current total of 37) new Caritas Reps gathered on Saturday 15th February for the introductory Caritas Representative Workshop at the Diocese of Westminster. Following a rousing rendition of ‘Here I am Lord’ and a prayer to put us in the right frame of mind led by Sr Silvana Dallanegra, the Development Worker for West London, the newly volunteered representatives from churches around the Diocese started by looking ‘without modesty’ at their own gifts and talents, sharing these with those on their table, and mapping them on the diocesan map. We found there was a huge wealth of experience, enthusiasm and good will in the room, with everybody having something to offer in their role as a Caritas Representative for their parish.

Map of Reps’ gifts and talents

Meriel Woodward, Assistant Director of Caritas introduced Caritas, explaining the three pillars: Caritas Services (Bakhita House, St Joseph’s Centre, Caritas Deaf Service, Caritas Food Collective and Caritas Volunteer Services), Social Enterprise and Development Work.

Sr Silvana then introduced the Catholic church’s ‘best kept secret’ of Catholic Social Teaching, as values that underpin all of our work at Caritas. She introduced each of the six themes, relating it to Caritas Services, and projects and activities in our schools and parishes. The Caritas Representatives then took their turn to reflect on each theme in pairs and share where they had witnessed the principle in practice.

Animated conversations and networking continued over lunch, accompanied by the Caritas Team including Finola Ryan and Minet Masho, Development Workers from Central and East London respectively, with many sharing contact details with opportunities to meet up and learn from each other.

The afternoon re-started with Meriel discussing the role of Caritas Representatives, linking to the Gifts and Talents and Catholic Social Teaching themes of the morning. The group discussed some amazing social action projects already going on in their parishes, and were invited to check the online social action map. Some of the parishes were already extremely active, meaning there was lots of opportunity for best practice sharing; others were keen to get involved and even the most active parishes wanted to do more. Caritas introduced their list of over thirty different social action ‘toolkits’, linked charities and upcoming events, with the invitation to speak to their Development Worker (seven in total across the Diocese) to discuss the next steps and possibilities for their parishes, which could start with running a Love in Action drive involving the whole parish.

The day ended with a reflection on the day’s events, linking back to our calling to use our gifts and talents to put love into action through our daily lives and the lives of our parish.

All representatives left really enthusiastic and motivated by the event, with plans to follow up with their parish priest on their return to their parishes. They took lots of posters and information to put up on new Caritas notice boards, or to share with their parish leadership teams. For some it will be baby steps, acting purely as communication links to Caritas activities and events; for others it marks the opening of a whole new world of sharing best practice, new ideas and opportunities. Each were looking forward to upcoming events and the opportunity to meet up again to share their progress.

Click here to view the first hand-out from the event

Click here to see our hand-out on Catholic Social Teaching



Latest News

Read more…

Skip to content