human development, social justice and sustainable social systems

Faith and action

COVID-19

Dear ‘Faith and Action’ reader,

Do not be afraid to devote your life to God and to others; it pays! For life is a gift we receive only when we give ourselves away, and our deepest joy comes from saying yes to love, without ifs and buts.

Homily of Pope Francis on Palm Sunday 2020

Over the past days and weeks, we have received so many messages on how we are all infected by love. Our lives and our world are undergoing one of the most rapid changes we have experienced in the past decade. We are confronted with fear, with sickness and even death in our neighbourhoods. We adapt to new working methods and at the same time we find that solidarity reaches further than a 1.5 meter distance.

This pandemic must be a moment of Kairos. The world cannot be functioning the way it was doing before. We should orient our reflections with a memory of the future, to see how we could be imaginative to keep the momentum of togetherness and solidarity we have felt during the COVID-19.

Caritas Internationalis Secretary General, Aloysius John, in an Interview to the Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano (English translation available on the Confederation’s intranet Baobab)

The Caritas Europa Theologians Advisory Group has been reflecting on this crisis. ‘The most fragile among us move to the top of my list of concerns, where they should be in good times and bad times’, says Francis Steward of CAFOD in an article in the Tablet. Also Duncan MacLaren, who contributed an article for this Faith and Action newsletter, writes ‘We are being called to be Samaritans to our immediate neighbours as well as those beyond our shores’. Linda Jones wrote a blog for the friends and partners of CAFOD. Sophie Allaux takes us on a ‘hike’ with six points for reflection in this period of crisis, which has its dramatic sides, but also comes with challenges and lessons to learn.

Dries Deweer is a philosopher from Belgium and professor in the Netherlands. He was invited to speak at the Caritas Spring Academy on 30 March (but which had to be postponed due to the virus). He wrote nonetheless, on the same evening, to the participants of the Spring Academy and takes us back to 1759 with Candide’s conclusion in Voltaire’s famous story of the same name: We must cultivate our garden!

‘I bring this paradox to reflection and prayer,’ Cardinal Tagle said. ‘The situation is re-educating me about the dynamic tension between the local and the universal.’ Our Caritas Internationalis President also speaks to us in a video message on emergencies and Caritas.

Pope Francis spoke to the young people on Palm Sunday. ‘I urge you, young people to cultivate and witness to the hope, to the generosity, the solidarity of which we are all in need in this difficult moment’, he said.

Many of our young Caritas staff and volunteers are witnessing to this hope. I invite you to read the story of Erjon Varfi, a 16 year old boy from Albania, to watch the testimony of Carlos García a social worker from Spain (video box on the right), to read the efforts being made by young volunteers in Italy, to hear about the continued work of social workers in Moldova, and to journey through a Lenten reflection on this crisis with Caritas Ukraine.

Last but not least our Caritas Europa President, Msgr. Luc Van Looy, greets us from his new working place in Scherpenheuvel in Belgium where he lives since retiring as a bishop of Ghent.

Enjoy reading and get inspired by all these stories of Faith and Action.

Happy Easter to all!

Marc

video

Carlos García’s testimony

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testimonies

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about the platform

This platform provides a space for in-depth interdisciplinary and ecumenical reflection. The focus is on the relationship between the Catholic Church’s praxis and the social thought coming from various Caritas organisations. It allows for practical and academic exchange on how to better develop this relationship for the mutual benefit of all. The platform is designed around concrete urgent social themes, offering serious, respectful and innovative reflections on bridging religious praxis and contemporary societies. Faith and Action offers a forum for the voices of diverse people of various cultural and ethnic backgrounds. It offers concrete examples, records current research and assesses the relevant literature.

The opinions expressed in the articles here are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of Caritas Europa.

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