Ali Ryan from our parish has given us this update on Caritas in Soutwark.
I was in one of the initial Caritas Southwark meeting groups set up by Canon Victor Darlington. As some of you may know I have been trying to establish a 'Catholic' Parish Nurse Service for OLOL parish and local community since 2018 (there are still no Catholic Parish Nurses in the UK) and in doing so it had highlighted the lack of guidelines within the Diocese for embarking on this type of parish led project . I was delighted therefore to be invited by Fr Victor to explore the setting up of Caritas Southwark. As an umbrella organisation Caritas Southwark will assist in parish projects of a social action nature and be a great resource for cohesion and networking both within and between diocesan parishes, their schools and our wider communities. The good news is that OLOL parish groups talk and work alongside each other, which is not always the case in some parishes. I am sure Caritas Southwark may wish to emulate Caritas Westminster which has been around for 10 years now.( with Archbishop John appointed by Pope Francis as Bishop at Westminster before his appointment as Archdiocese of Southwark on the retirement of Archbishop Peter Smith). I notice that Westminster have done a lot over the past few years in pushing a responsibility of the social action agenda to all parishes/parishioners making their website very cohesive and accessible to the general public: Their website is here Some foundations have been laid from the Caritas formation away day (5th Nov 2022 see here for more information) and at the various meetings that have been held before the Launch of 18th March 2023 . As a result of all those discussions it was that the focus for Caritas Southwark will be divided into four key areas 1) Older adults particularly the vulnerable and housebound 2) Financial crisis particularly Food Banks 3) Young adult knife crime and gangs 4) Immigration and Refugees. I will be attending the launch of Caritas Southwark on the 18th both as a member of the working group and also as a parishioner of Our Lady of Lourdes. After the launch of Caritas Southwark there will be opportunities to meet and deliberate on the core factors necessary for Caritas Southwark and I hope to be able to facilitate a Caritas Southwark focus group in OLOL parish to contribute to this dialogue. I invite anyone interested, in joining me at St George's on the 18th March or in the Caritas Southwark remit, to make contact with me on 07986117082
A poster for the launch event and the text of the Archbishop's Pastoral Letter is here in a separate News item on our website.