The love of neighbour is first and foremost a personal response to the love of God shown to us by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. It is our desire to give back what we have received – everlasting love, life and hope in the name of Jesus. We desire collectively to respond to this gift and it follows that love of neighbour is the hope for the entire ecclesial community at every level, from the local community to the particular church and to the Church universal in its entirety.

We believe that our diocesan structure provides an ideal foundation for the mission of the Church; the ethnic and linguistic diversity of our communities, our response to the command to be ‘fishers of men’, our belief in salvation through Jesus Christ, the wealth of Catholic Social Teaching and how each of these will affect our way of working ‘for such a time as this’. This requires order and organisation.

Caritas Diocese of Portsmouth exists to enable the support, teaching, promotion, ordering and organising of this constitutive element of Church within the parishes, schools, pastoral areas and deaneries of our diocese. Where relevant, Caritas Diocese of Portsmouth will work across the Framework For Collaboration with other teams and other vicariates.

A diocesan consultation was held in May 2015 to inform the way in which Caritas would operate. There was a clear message that in the main Caritas needed to operate at a parish level, with governance of individual projects remaining with the individual priests and the parish finance committees. However, there was a clearly articulated need for a variety of support with projects from a central ‘light touch’ organisation. The support requested was varied and included assisting parishes and Evangelisation Strategy Teams with project development volunteering and governance assistance, fundraising, networking with other churches and help with promoting Catholic Social Teaching.

There was also a desire that Caritas would undertake at least one diocesan project.

During 2015-2016 Caritas will be building its capacity as an organisation by working with selected parishes to develop initial projects. We will also be developing its brand, fundraising capacity and governance structures. Most importantly we will work with the diocese and parishes to determine a relevant agenda which will demonstrate the potential of Catholic Social teaching to contribute to the understanding and practice of evangelisation/social justice in our diocese.