Thought of the week
What is the public face of the Catholic Church in Jersey? Is it our church buildings? The Catholic schools? The voice of clergy on the radio or soundbites on TV?
Increasingly, I believe, our public face is Caritas Jersey - and other associated Catholic organisations promoting support for the disadvantaged. Did you realise, perhaps from reading the JEP report of the recent debate in the States which led to the adoption of the Living Wage, that it was ‘Caritas Jersey’ which had motivated and inspired this decision?
Do you know that Caritas Jersey has a ‘Prisoners Families Support Scheme’, which does what it says in helping families disadvantaged by having a family member in prison? Do you know that at the Oasis of Peace, with the financial support of the SVP, Deacon David Cahill, chaplain to the prison, and his wife Mary, give hospitality to relatives from England of a family member incarcerated in La Moye?
Do you know that Caritas Jersey promotes and supports The Medaille Trust which works against human trafficking? Do you know that Caritas Jersey has a 'Think Tank’ which provides responses to government consultation papers that I have been sent as Catholic Dean? It is also about to produce for candidates in the next Island Election and for the general public, a report dealing with the issues of Social Inclusion, Housing and Accommodation, Wage Benefits and Employment and Health. These views have been drawn up from a consultation process with politicians, civil servants, specialists and others involved in these areas during the last nine months. This document will be shared with you as members of our Catholic Church in the near future.
Do you know that the Society of St Vincent de Paul helps 45-50 people each week through their food bank? They also have a furniture store. Advice and support are offered to individuals and families.
The latest exciting news from Caritas Jersey is the formation within The Welcome Centre of the Caritas International Association (Jersey). This is a new initiative to support our efforts to make the Island a more equitable and fairer society. Whilst continuing to work in a partnership with Highlands College, the Gift Shop and the Cafe, my hope is that this new initiative will enable The Welcome Centre to become more international and supportive of the many minority communities in Jersey.
I believe this is the public face of the Catholic Church in Jersey. It fulfils the words of Jesus in this Sunday’s Gospel: “If a man serves me, he must follow me, wherever I am, my servant will be there too.”