For Christians, Lent is a time of repentance, and of preparation for our special annual commemoration of the heart of the Christian message: that our God, in Christ, became human as we are, that he conquered sin and death, and asks us to love him as he loved us. Repentance requires a change in a person – it requires that they develop a new understanding of their actions and themselves. This change in us should make a difference to the people we encounter, and to the society that we are part of.
Volunteering is a precious free resource made available by generous people for the benefit of others, for the Church and our communities. It is giving one's time and personal resources in the service of others. In this it is close to the heart of the Scriptures, where service runs deeply through the history of God's relationship with his people. Are we making the most of this resource, or can we do better?
Competition and efficiently working markets have their role to play, but collaboration not competition, mission not markets should be the drivers of social service delivery in the 21st century, according to a recent article by Denis Fitzgerald from Catholic Social Services Victoria. Related to this, faith-based bodies can only achieve their potential in service and advocacy and be true to their prophetic calling if they also develop and advance a new vision of a society that would be informed by the needs of all.
Click here for a reflection from Anne Astin on some broader trends and developments - in international development – food supply, affluence and trade – and on challenges and issues for Catholic social services. These were part of a presentation to a planning day for Catholic Social Services Victoria on 9 December 2016.
Denis Fitzgerald reflects on a suggestion from John Allen
that in Pope Francis we have ‘in flesh
and bone, a Magna Carta for Catholic social services.’