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Final words and news update for 2020

In our final newsletter for 2020, Executive Director of Catholic Social Services Victoria Joshua Lourensz writes:

We have been a part of a truly remarkable policy and social landscape this year, and there have been some very real challenges being met and experienced by organisations across the CSSV membership. The path forward into the new year won’t be easy for many, but there is a good platform to build creative and holistic responses to the chronic and compounded issues that we have seen and continue to see so clearly demarcated.

We have been a part of a truly remarkable policy and social landscape this year, and there have been some very real challenges being met and experienced by organisations across the CSSV membership. The path forward into the new year won’t be easy for many, but there is a good platform to build creative and holistic responses to the chronic and compounded issues that we have seen and continue to see so clearly demarcated.  

CSSV Council recently met with Mental Health Reform Victoria, a new mechanism established to work to implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System’s final report, which will be finalised and come out early next year. This, along with other various final reports coming out, which CSSV has had input into, means that after a brief break CSSV will be hitting the new year with all the energy and enthusiasm we can muster to continue our collective and cooperative work for positive systemic and social change. 

Christmas isn’t a happy time for many in our community, especially those that social services are often privileged to serve, and this should be acknowledged. But it is also a time for hope - the year ends, we celebrate the birth of Christ who, regardless of religious persuasion or none, represents a truly beautiful way of being and acting in the world. For us in Catholic social services, Christ is our example of how to be authentic and whole in service and solidarity, points us to who we should be standing with and alongside, and demonstrates a radical way of engaging with pre-existing systems and structures that often paradoxically contain good intent and oppression. 

Let’s continue to remember that Christ was a refugee at a young age, forced to flee internationally for protection. Christ was born and raised in a family of humble status and unremarkable profession. Christ was born in controversial, awkward and ill-fitting social circumstances. As we work through the mess and the grey of our social landscape, let’s remember the quality of imagination, love, and humility in our work –– as Pope Francis said on the world day of the poor last year: “The poor save us because they enable us to encounter the face of Jesus Christ.” That’s the kind of social service community that we seek to build up and encourage, and the challenge that is held before us. Hope in the new year!

This Christmas, let’s together commit to continue to bear witness to the radical hope of Christ’s birth and life by working cooperatively to change unjust systems, structures, and our own hearts, so that everyone can flourish. 

Merry Christmas from all of us at CSSV.

 





 
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