Caritas Archdiocese of Birmingham is a network of charities, parishes and services that provide charitable work in the name of the Church throughout the Archdiocese. Part of the national Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN), the Birmingham network guides and supports all of the work that is carried out locally in the name of the Church.
As a member of CSAN, Father Hudson’s was always very aware of the work carried out by similar charities around the country, including the development of Caritas networks in other dioceses.
In its belief that the Church carried out a great deal of social care work within the Birmingham Archdiocese, but that no single coherent image existed of what this work encompassed, Father Hudson’s approached the Archbishop about the possibility of researching exactly what work was taking place in the Church’s name.
This led to an exercise to contact all parishes to establish and map out all services that existed that had grown from the Church’s concern for those in need in the local community. On completion of the work in the summer of 2014, the Archbishop made a decision to launch the Caritas Archdiocese of Birmingham network.
The Archbishop was very keen that a consultation take place to find out what kind of new Caritas organisation would work best. To facilitate this, Father Hudson’s arranged several roadshows as well as a consultation at St Chad’s Cathedral. This led to the creation of a Constitution that was formally agreed by the Archbishop and his Council and to the new network which was launched at St Chad’s in autumn 2014.
The Archbishop asked Father Hudson’s to provide secretariat services for the new network and also to be involved in the Executive Committee that would plan events throughout the year. Father Michael White was appointed as Chair of the committee and Father Hudson’s now works closely with him.
In its first year, the Executive Committee has organised a retreat at Oscott College, two workshops on homelessness, and fundraising activities in Lichfield and Banbury. Work has begun on compiling a Diocesan Caritas prayer book, working closely with Oscott College students and staff. Another roadshow, centred on the work of five volunteer-led groups, is being organised for the autumn.
Major research has also begun into the possibility of a new Homelessness project for emergency accommodation in Birmingham. Father Hudson’s is one of the organisations involved in this and will be the lead partner as this develops. The planning group for this and key individuals on it have given a great deal of time to researching the need. We will provide updates on the progress of this as it develops.
The Diocesan website contains a section dedicated to the Caritas network, which includes all information that was gathered through the research and consultation. There is also a list of all organisations and parishes that have become members, as well as all services that are known to exist.
This information will be regularly updated, particularly through the process of Deanery visits. The Bishop’s Council has agreed to ensure that when parishes are visited, not only will all the liturgical and catechetical work be mapped, but all social action work will be listed and shared with Father Hudson’s.
For further information on the Caritas Archdiocese of Birmingham, visit www.birminghamdiocese.org.uk/caritas.
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