The community and wider world
The joys and hopes, the griefs and sorrows of the people of this world are the joys and hopes, the griefs and sorrows of the followers of Christ.
Gaudium et Spes 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.
Locally Catholic parishes will be involved in helping the homeless, food banks, supporting refugees, supporting sea farers and other initiatives. Individual members of the church will offer care through local and voluntary agencies as volunteers in all sorts of ways. Parishes often offer accommodation for groups to meet – the elderly, those with dementia, parents and toddlers, AA and other self-help groups, and other activities. If you feel called to help serve others through the Church, you can check what happens in your local catholic parish.
A lot of this work is done ecumenically with other Christian groups; this is an important witness to the unity of the Churches in Christ. As a Diocese the church in Plymouth co-ordinates its work under a Diocesan Caritas agency which supports various initiatives which cover a wider remit and wider area.
Internationally the Diocese is involved in a variety of ways, often through CAFOD (the Catholic Fund for Overseas Development) which is a major UK charity handling a huge amount of support throughout the world, responding to emergencies and supporting initiatives through the developing work. For details of CAFOD’s work see here.
Individual parishes also often support various charities and Catholic initiatives locally and internationally which support such causes as education, health and evangelisation. Check your local parish to find out what specific causes they support and get involved.
CAFOD is the official aid agency for the Catholic Church in England and Wales. It is part of one of the largest aid networks in the world. That is because of the global reach of the Catholic Church, which has a local presence in every place. Catholics no one should be beyond the love and support they need to live a dignified life, through CAFOD Catholics in this country work to make that a reality.
Justice and peace
Peace is one of those human desires that is found everywhere, in every country, in every community. Catholics believe that true peace cannot flourish where there is oppression, lack of opportunity or an unfair distribution of the world’s goods. That is why seeking to improve the lot of the most impoverished in the world – and in our country – also implies seeking to promote justice for those who are marginalised or disadvantaged for any reason.
There is no doubt that division and discord among those who follow Christ is one of the great hindrances to the credibility of the gospel in the eyes of the rest of humankind. That is why Christian Unity is seen as an imperative by those who belong to Christ. This is the formal teaching of the Catholic Church. At every level – including at Diocesan and local level – there are agencies and the provision of opportunities to work for unity.
Many people claim that religious differences are the cause of many of the great conflicts in the world. The reality is that many religious people of all faiths, together with all people of good will, actively work for the good of all in our world. By understanding one another that work can be developed at local and wider levels. In that way there can be greater opportunity to value whatever is good in the world, and work for the flourishing of all.