Whatsoever you did to the least of these, you did to me.
The two great commandments in the Old and in the New Testament are to love God and to love our neighbour – both are essential. To love our neighbour is to offer care and respond to their need; indeed to some extent we show our love of God by our love of neighbour.
The parish and locally
Whatever you did to the least of my brothers and sisters you did to me
The Church is essentially community, and so most pastoral care of people happens within the life of the local community – be that parish or through chaplaincies. The local priest is the pastor of that community, and assisted by other members of the clergy, religious and lay people he will respond to the pastoral needs of those who make up the parish and also those who come for assistance of some sort – be it spiritual, personal or material. Many parishes have support groups – for the elderly, for the frail, for mothers with small children, the bereaved and for young people and others identifiable groups.
The community and wider world
The joys and hopes, the griefs and sorrows of the people of this world are joys and hopes, the griefs and sorrows of the followers of Christ. (G&S 1)
The followers of Christ who make up the church live in the world and so are called to actively serve their brothers and sisters in the world. The Church therefore is engaged in all sorts of activity to support the people of the local community and working with others to reach out to all across the world in need.
Let the little children come to me – to such belongs the kingdom of heaven
The young are not just the church of tomorrow they are the church of today – through baptism they belong and as vulnerable members of the Body of Christ they need the care and attention of all members of the church. Jesus had a particular appreciation of the young and called all his followers to be like them, so they are a great treasure and the church takes its responsibility to them very seriously.