Caritas Archdiocese of Birmingham is a network of Catholic organisations that includes parishes, the SVP, charities with a Catholic connection but also working in partnership with other Churches, other groups and individuals. We work alongside Father Hudson’s Care, the Diocesan Social Care agency. We are led by an executive committee who are all volunteers. But the key is that we aim to bring people, parishes, Diocesan services and others together to share what we have and to try to be more effective. We also strive to encourage, train, prompt people and organisations throughout the Archdiocese to support each other and consider new ways of helping people in need. We do this by:
- Sharing good practice
- Joint training
- On-going formation in Biblical and Catholic Social Teaching
- Nurturing the spiritual basis of the work
- Identifying areas of need and discussing how best to respond
- Encouraging and promoting Social Action wherever possible
- Encouraging use of parish & Diocesan resources in service of the poor
- To provide a coherent voice on important social issues and policies
It is an approach in which we are constantly inviting people to work with us or just work together. It is only effective if people respond but the response is often generous.
The pattern of our work over the last 12 months will be repeated each year since it is the most essential services that we have been offering. So the need for an annual retreat and prayer will be central to our work. So too will be the need for training and sharing good practice.
Our experience is that there is already a huge amount of good work going on in our parishes, often in small but significant activities and nearly always being run by small groups of volunteers. This will be where we need to focus much of our attention since it is here that God is with His people, where we have so many gifted priests, committed and skilled parishioners and volunteers, excellent parish halls and community centres and where we are closest to the poor. If we can learn from and support each, then the work of Caritas will surely grow in the Archdiocese of Birmingham.