Caritas Southwark celebrates its first year anniversary

The social action arm of the Archdiocese of Southwark, Caritas Southwark, celebrated its first year with a Mass held at St George’s Cathedral.

Archbishop John Wilson established Caritas Southwark to work in partnership with archdiocesan parishes, schools and existing charities to build a society based on justice, love and dignity for all.

In his homily at the Mass, Archbishop John spoke of his vision of the Catholic Church and social action, challenging all in the archdiocese to think about what kind of people we are and what we want to achieve. Describing his vision for Caritas, he said:

“We are loved by Jesus Christ and, therefore, we want to share his love with others using words and actions that make love real, that give life and give hope. And essential and integral to this is an authentic ‘option for the poor,’ our desire to accompany and support people in need.”

The Caritas network brings together many projects, activities and initiatives already in existence across the archdiocese whose purpose is to contribute to the common good which enhances the lives of all.

A key aspect of Caritas is to support the various groups to be more connected and learn from each other, by sharing best practice and practical advice. As part of the one year celebrations, a conference was held in Amigo Hall at St George’s Cathedral. It brought together parishes from South London and Kent, as well as schools. Bonus Pastor Secondary School spoke at the event, highlighting their inspiring work to tackle youth violence. Raymond Friel, CEO of Caritas Social Action Network also delivered a keynote speech on social action.

Summing up the need to work for the others of our society, irrespective of their background, Archbishop John said:

“We are committed to the common good, to the well-being of all members of our society, where the good of each serves the good of all.

This is so important in a culture that often prioritises individualism, that tell us to put ourselves first, to make we get what we need, even if we have to trample other people to get to the top, that tells us to make money and profit no matter the cost. But we have a different vision. Christ shows a way to human flourishing together through service and self-giving. We believe in the dignity and worth of every human being.”

John Coleby, the Director of Caritas Southwark said:

“The work of the various projects in our Archdiocese show how we are making the boundless love of God a reality. By responding to the challenges of food security, the safety of young people, the support of the elderly and for people who are migrants and refugees, we are showing there is a way to put God’s love into action in a practical way.”

Over the next 12 months, Caritas Southwark will look to build on the foundations already established by supporting the network to continue to deliver for those in need.

Read Archbishop John Wilson's full homily here