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Bishop Marcus designates Catholic Care as diocesan Caritas agency

The way Catholic charitable activities are coordinated in the Diocese of Leeds has been reorganised by Bishop Marcus.

In 2012 the pope asked every diocese in the world to establish a ‘Caritas’ service if they didn’t already have one. The word caritas is Latin for love, and Caritas services coordinate the Church’s works of charity which concretely express our love for God and neighbour.

Every country and diocese organises its Caritas service differently according to local circumstances. In 2017 Bishop Marcus launched ‘Caritas Leeds’ as an umbrella forum bringing together many different groups providing charitable outreach to the poor in our diocese.

Thanks to the good work done by the coordinator for Caritas Leeds, Rev. Dr. Joseph Cortis (a deacon of the diocese and Catholic Care trustee) the service developed to the point where Bishop Marcus has decided it needs additional support to make it even more effective.

So, from August 2023, Bishop Marcus has designated our charity, Catholic Care, as ‘Caritas Leeds’. That means we will provide the organisational structure to support social mission in the diocese. We will be incorporating ‘Caritas Leeds’ into our name, logo, and identity.

With 160 years’ experience of caring for those in need, Catholic Care is in a strong position to undertake the responsibility of coordinating the Church’s service among the marginalised.

We’re now charged by Bishop Marcus with the task of supporting and enhancing – not replacing or taking over – the charitable work already being done by many Catholic groups and parish projects. We’re blessed with professionally-qualified staff and the infrastructure to grow the Caritas service, and we’re excited to work with and learn from friends old and new.

It will take time to see exactly how this new collaboration will work. Bishop Marcus has suggested we convene a regular forum where representatives from groups and parishes come together to identify needs, discuss collaborative projects, and grow in understanding and living-out of Catholic Social Teaching. Working together we’ll be able to encourage good care practice, provide guidance and training, and support charitable initiatives.

Director of Catholic Care, Carol Hill, said: ‘Our charity’s values, based on Catholic Social Teaching principles, are at the heart of everything we do, giving expression to our faith through works of charity. As the diocese’s Caritas agency, Catholic Care will continue showing God’s love in action. Pope Francis says charity – caritas – is our very life, “it makes us be what we are”. This is an exciting time for the Catholic community in Leeds, and our many supporters of all faiths and none, to be love in action across Yorkshire.’