More than 200 people attended a landmark gathering at Holy Cross Sixth Form College in Bury last weekend to celebrate and energise Catholic Social Action throughout the Diocese of Salford. Faith in People was jointly organised by CSAN, Caritas Diocese of Salford and St Antony's Centre for Church and Industry “to shape a new mission for the local Church and to address social justice."
The event was opened by Bishop Terence Brain who set out the challenges facing the Diocese, which encompasses Bury, Manchester and much of North West England. He was followed by Helen O’Brien, CEO of CSAN who discussed the “raw poverty” experienced by many families in the region. Delegates then attended workshops led by local Catholic social action projects including: Depaul UK’s Nightstop which provides emergency accommodation for homeless 16-25 year olds; Revive which provides asylum seekers with housing and financial advice; and the St Dymphna befriending group which supports people with mental health difficulties and their carers.
Over forty other projects joined them for a ‘market place’ where delegates could find out more details about the depth and variety of work being undertaken locally by Catholic groups. Bishop Brain expressed encouragement at seeing so many "great people with energy becoming aware that we are all part of the one family of the Diocese".
Catholic social activist and former MP John Battle stated: "I didn't realise there was so much going on. This day was really helpful as now I am more aware of local projects." He urged those present to continue their work, telling them: “we have to do even more to express our faith in action- don't hide your light under a bushel.”
Caritas Diocese of Salford provides a vast range of services for children, families and vulnerable adults in the Diocese of Salford www.caritassalford.org.uk
St Antony’s Centre for Church and Industry focuses on Catholic Social thinking in relation to the world of work and provides training and community services in the Greater Manchester region http://www.stantonyscentre.org.uk/