Caritas is the Latin word for Christian love and from which the word charity derives. As the official catholic charity of our Diocese, Caritas Diocese of Salford runs 21 services and centres covering helping the homeless; alleviating poverty; assisting those suffering from benefit sanctions; raising awareness of human trafficking; welcoming the stranger; visiting the elderly and housebound; campaigning for justice; raising awareness in our schools; housing needs; and supporting single mothers and babies.
A particularly important aspect of Caritas’ work this year will be responding to the Refugee crisis. Bishop John has written: “In view of the continued Refugee Crisis and Pope Francis’ call to ‘Welcome the Stranger’, the Refugee Response will continue to be main focus of awareness raising and fundraising for Caritas for this year.”
Caritas Diocese of Salford has received terrific local response from individuals and groups of people who have come together from individual churches, ecumenical and multi-faith groups to help with the Refugee Crisis. With the help of volunteers and learning from professionals, Caritas has set up Refugee and Asylum Drop-In Centres to provide casework support, English lessons, and a welcome face.
Caritas is pioneering a Community Sponsorship Programme, following a Canadian model, where a community group welcomes a refugee family; from meeting them at the airport, to finding local accommodation, helping with schools, medical registration and providing friendship.
Caritas also offers emergency accommodation to those who find themselves destitute, and individual supporters have campaigned for individual asylum seekers and even housing them in their own homes!
Our parish has worked with Caritas and Revive, a Catholic charity in Manchester, to arrange days out in the countryside, and are piloting the Refugee ‘Come Dine with Me’ project for the diocese.
We should also acknowledge the valuable work done in our parish by the SVP group whose work dovetails with that of Caritas.
There are now 70 Caritas Representatives across the Diocese; volunteers in our parishes who promote both awareness of the charity and encourage support of its work.
If you are interested to get involved in social action with Refugees or to help others in need, then please speak to our parish’s Caritas Representative, Anthony Brown at: email@example.com or ( 01200 422811 or contact Caritas directly on ( 0161 817 2270 or www.caritassalford.org.uk.
Of today’s retiring collection for Caritas’ Refugee Response, Bishop John appeals: “I warmly invite you to take up the opportunities Caritas Sunday offers for prayers, action and donations.”