When people ask me where we work, and we say “CatholicCare”, some ask “what’s that?” and others look at me expectantly for more details, so we welcome this opportunity to let you in on the secret of who we are and what we do.
Four women in Sydney had a dream. In 1940 they dreamed that the poor and anyone in distress could receive professional care from the Church. Norma Parker, Elvira Lyons, Constance Moffit and Eileen Davidson set about making their dream a reality. They wrote to the Archbishop of Sydney, at that time Cardinal Gilroy, suggesting that a Catholic Welfare organisation be established. As a result, the organisation that would become CatholicCare saw the light of day.
“We are a Catholic organisation and so we represent the Catholic Church which is the presence of Jesus in the world, the face of Christ, whose ‘love we show in a real and practical way’ .” – Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv
CatholicCare exists to show the compassionate face of Jesus to all. Human beings live in relationship. However managing transitional points in life and relationships are sometimes difficult for many people. Jesus came so that we could have life and have it to the full, so the Church must provide quality professional services that enable people to live their potential in a true spirit of hope. All of us want life to the full. Not all have the same chance to achieve it. Some have been, or are still, held back by various circumstances. But it is the role of CatholicCare to be people of hope, who can accompany all to the possibility of fullness of life. Therefore, our vision is to be a strong and visible Catholic provider of integrated care for all in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains with special concern for the poor and disadvantaged.
‘You are not making a gift of what is yours to the poor man but you are giving him back what is his. The earth belongs to everyone, not to the rich.’ – St Ambrose
Where is the Compassionate Face of Christ?
Jesus healed people and for those He met, He was a sign of hope. He accepted the whole person, restored their dignity and enabled them to move forward. His focus was on making people feel included rather than excluded. Nowhere in His way of relating do we find even a hint of blame, of moralising, of condemnation or of judgement. He re-opened the door of hope, “The one who has hope lives differently; the one who hopes has been granted the gift of a new life” (Pope Benedict, Spe Salvi, 2.SS: 2). The gift of a new life! This is our hope for all the participants and practitioners at CatholicCare.
‘How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion.’ – Pope Francis
“You can’t have one without the other!” There are three aspects to the life of the Church: preaching the Word, celebrating the sacraments and carrying out works of love. Each of the three is essential. If one is missing, the Church is incomplete. So the works of love are part of who we are. We cannot walk away from them or leave them to governments. There is no opting out. CatholicCare, part of the Diocese of Parramatta, is here because works of love are part of our identity. As the face of Christ, the Good Shepherd, our mission is to enable people in need to become the best human beings that they can be.
We wish you all the joy and peace of Christmas.
CatholicCare Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains
This article first appeared in the December 2017 print edition of Catholic Outlook.
At the request of Most Rev Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, Catholic Outlook was printed in December 2017 to connect the Diocese and showcase the good works across the Diocese’s many agencies and ministries.