Caritas is the world's largest social action network, working in 200 countries and territories to provide humanitarian relief, support, development and welfare. It was established by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales to develop the Church’s social action in the UK, and to share in the mission of the Universal Catholic Church. Caritas Southwark has been founded by Archbishop John Wilson in the South-East of England.
Caritas Southwark aims to build a society based on justice, fraternal love and dignity for all, regardless of race, religion or worthiness, inspired by the example of Jesus Christ.
Caritas Southwark will work in collaboration with diocesan parishes and schools, as well as existing charities and organisations, to support them in building up a common bond of charity in serving people of all faiths and none.
The Commission will bring tangible assistance alongside hope and solidarity for the disadvantaged, as well as those experiencing poverty or discrimination. It will speak up for the poor, marginalised and those facing injustice, encouraging all to voice their experiences to build a fair society.
Caritas Southwark will strive to be the loving face of Jesus Christ to each person it encounters, enabling them to live a dignified existence and fulfil their God-given potential.
Our values are based on the principles of Catholic Social Teaching which promote human dignity, responsibility and the common good:
Take care of the poor and the outcast! The Bible is full of these exhortations. The Lord says: it is not important to me that you do this or that, it is important to me that the orphan is cared for, that the widow is cared for, that the outcast person is heard, that creation is protected. This is the Kingdom of God!” - Pope Francis, Homily, 2014
Our discerned strategic aims are as follows
- An early intervention support scheme for identifying young people in our parishes and schools, who are vulnerable and could easily be led to knife crimes, gangs, drugs, etc and offering a range of support.
- A Deanery approach of strengthening and supporting Food Bank schemes
in our parishes and reaching out to those who are struggling with a range
of domestic needs in our wider communities.
- Supporting and caring for our elderly parishioners, especially those who are struggling with loneliness.
- A support scheme for migrants and refugees.
The pandemic has left no one unaffected: some have lost their lives, some are grieving;
others have experienced isolation, financial want, or the loss of employment. The
Archdiocese, through its parishes, departments and schools, has sought to address many of these issues, though the strain on society remains marked.
As Christians, we ultimately believe, in both good times and bad, that knowing the person of Jesus Christ, the face of God the Father’s love and mercy, is the supreme benefit that anyone can have. The Church exists to make him known, in word and in deed. - Archbishop John Wilson, 2020.
Photograph above: Paschal Candle bearing the text 'Do not be afraid, I am with you.' displayed at St George's Cathedral Southwark at Easter 2022.
Image courtesy of Marcin Mazur