Bishop Alan Hopes formally commissioned the work of Caritas East Anglia at the Cathedral of St John the Baptist in Norwich on November 17, 2019 – the Third World Day of the Poor – followed by a special celebration lunch.
In his homily, Bishop Alan said:
“In all that we do for the poor, we must always remember that we are taking the Lord and his message to them – doing so often without words for it is the Lord himself, working through us, who is welcoming and listening, who loves them and brings them his message of hope and reassurance.
“The Alive in Faith campaign has raised a significant sum of money which is already being applied to projects across the Diocese which seek to assist those who are undergoing severe hardship.
“The St Edmund’s Fund also seeks to assist individuals who find themselves in a crisis or emergency situation.”
After the homily, Bishop Hopes blessed 22 members of the diocesan Commission, drawn from priests and laity within the diocese.
Fr John Warrington, chair of the Commission, said after the Mass: “This launch is the springboard to encourage people and priests from across the diocese to share their involvement with the work of Caritas East Anglia and how we can move forward together.”
Mass was followed by a lunch in the Narthex for representatives of every parish in the diocese along with clients of St Martin’s Housing Trust who have benefited from the remarkable work that the charity does. One of their members remarked, in a video presentation, “This place is my safe haven”.
Caritas East Anglia is led by its development worker, Jacinta Goode, who will now be busy organising ‘festivals’ in Norwich, Newmarket and Peterborough. These festivals will bring an opportunity to make contact with individual parishioners around the diocese and encourage everyone to be involved.
Speaking on Radio Suffolk, Jacinta said:
“In Caritas East Anglia we are looking at where the Lord is working in our churches and our communities, and discerning where the Holy Spirit may be leading us to share God’s love with others through our actions and through prayer.
“Social outreach is already happening across the diocese and there are many people working with the poor, the homeless and the marginalised – working in night shelters, visiting those who are isolated, working with ex-offenders for example.
“We are looking at where that is already happening, bringing people together and highlighting where people might get involved and serve. There is massive work which needs to be done with refugees and asylum-seekers for example.
“In this role my faith has already been strengthened by meeting people and seeing them interacting with those they are serving. They are not just making lunch for people, they are talking to people, they are walking with them and that is what we are called to do. Jesus walked with the poor and the marginalised and we need to follow his example and do what he did.”
Story and picture credit: Diocese of East Anglia