9th February 2017
Bishop Marcus has asked that in our Diocese of Leeds, we work together to form a ‘Caritas’ organisation to enable all charitable agencies involved in and supportive of Catholic social action and social care to work together in the loving service of those in need.
During his public life Jesus called his followers to love God and to love their neighbour, teaching them through parables what that ‘love of neighbour’ means. The word ‘Caritas’ (Charity) encapsulates Christian love for all mankind; a love which is expressed through the practical service of the poor, the excluded and the neglected in our own communities.
‘Caritas Leeds’ will be a forum where all charities, agencies, projects, services, groups (with at least a simple structure and organisation) that are involved in social action or social care in the Diocese of Leeds, whose work is inspired by the Gospel and operates in accordance with the Catholic doctrine and social teaching can meet together. The intention is for them to assist the Bishop in encouraging and supporting initiatives of service to neighbour, engaging in practical charity and sharing the mission of the Church. In addition, ideas and projects can be shared and celebrated and training and best practice developed -along with a strong and coherent voice from our Diocese on social issues.
First we need to know who, what and where these groups are and what they do, and a database created to enable contact to be established and areas of interest and need to be identified. To that end, Deacon Joseph Cortis, (Coordinator for Caritas Leeds) will be undertaking an audit of all such groups in the Diocese. He will be sending out a questionnaire so Parish Priests and secretaries of Catholic associations and all involved can help us build a picture of what is already happening in our Catholic communities across the Diocese. This audit will be conducted within the next couple of months.
Building on Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s teaching that social action carried out through a ‘Caritas’ organisation is the Church’s way of proclaiming the Gospel, Pope Francis has added a note of global urgency. Calling us to be a Church ‘of and with the poor’, the Holy Father has said:
‘I see clearly that what the Church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness and proximity.’
We are reminded that when we encounter those in need, we encounter Christ; and when we draw nearer to serve the poor and the vulnerable in our society, we are drawing ever nearer to Him.
For more information on ‘Caritas Leeds’, contact Deacon Joseph Cortis via email@example.com or 0113 2618036 or write to him c/o St Monica House Hinsley Hall, 62 Headingly Lane Leeds LS6 2BX