Why do I believe reading it can be a useful for any person of any Caritas in Europe? For various reasons.
First of all the handbook speaks about the very essence, the core and heart of our mission. It speaks of something fundamental to any community: participation! Caritas is an expression of the catholic community and so its work is based on the community, it starts and ends in the community. Nowadays it seems to me even more important to remind ourselves of this very fundamental element of our mission.
Participation is the key for building any action that is really rooted in the spaces on the margins.
The second reason is that the publication speaks about the participation of any person that can be engaged in some way in our actions: volunteers, professionals, priests, congregations, local governments, private companies etc., and above all, people experiencing poverty, as active individuals and families deciding about their lives and contributing to our mission. Though it is a simple and obvious thing, very often we can lose this perspective in our daily work.
The third and last reason is that you will find inside this little book a brief explanation and theory to serve as a basis for reflection, as well as a lot of examples of different Caritas actions and different ways of making participation real. You can see that it is not only words, but also facts and examples of concrete ways of trying to put all this into practice, and learning from it.
It is nice to see that many people around Europe are doing their best to create actions, projects, and spaces of real participation, whenever and wherever people can contribute with their talents and capacities. Everyone is important on our common journey towards achieving our goals.
The core of Caritas activities is not only what we can achieve, but more importantly how we achieve it, how we get things done and whether we live our lives as true testimonies of God’s Kingdom on earth.
Coordinator of Social Inclusion Programme