Caritas Diocese of Penang officially launched

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Caritas Diocese of Penang was officially launched on Merdeka Day during the live stream 10.00am Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit.

Caritas Diocese of Penang was officially launched on Merdeka Day during the live stream 10.00am Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit. The Mass was celebrated by the Bishop of Penang Diocese, Rt Rev Sebastian Francis. Parish priest Fr Joachim Robert, priest in residence, Fr Francis Anthony and the Chairman of the Diocesan Pastoral Team, Fr Jude Miranda, were the concelebrants.

The theme The Heartbeat of Jesus was chosen to inspire the people in the diocese. Bishop Sebastian, in his homily, encouraged everyone to embody the essence of the word caritas – which means love in Latin. He added that the time had come for us to put faith into action and to ‘go beyond labels’ in our journey as social missionaries. He emphasized that to love like Christ, we are compelled to go beyond the boundaries of race, religion, politics, institution, nationality, creed and ideology and to show compassion to those in need without prejudice or favour. By doing this, we will be keeping the heartbeat of Jesus alive.

In his first official speech as head of Caritas Diocese of Penang, Fr Joachim said that the four key areas that Caritas Diocese of Penang would like to focus on would be to Connect, Collaborate, Strengthen and Revive the social aspect of charity with all the parishes in the Diocese. Caritas aims to be an inter-diocesan, inter-deanery, inter-parish, inter-ministry body which will inevitably create a network among all the social mission arms of the diocese working together with one common mission and vision, which is to bring the heartbeat of Jesus to every aspect of the works of charity that we undertake.

Bishop Sebastian and Fr Jude then unveiled the official Caritas banner and simultaneously launched the Social Mission Awareness Campaign which began on Sept 1 and will end on Oct 24. Bishop Sebastian then proceeded to sign a commemorative plaque which will be displayed at the Caritas head office. Each parish in the diocese will also be given their own Caritas plaque to be displayed.

Bishop Sebastian also presented a cheque in the amount of RM145,000 to Fr Jude Miranda to be distributed equally to all 29 parishes to initiate the establishment of Caritas in each parish. Bishop ended the Mass by commissioning missionaries, both the layman and clergy, to go forth and be the heartbeat of Jesus.

In January 2020, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia unanimously decided to establish Caritas Malaysia to further promote its mission of charity and strengthen the social-pastoral mission of the Church by enabling every member of the Church to be active and caring towards all creation — particularly the poor and the marginalised. The time had come to work as one Malaysian Church, to bring all charity works of the Church under one united body with a shared visual identity, one organization and one mission to bear witness to God’s love in public spaces.

The setting up of Caritas is intended to bring together the existing Offices of Human Development (OHD) and related commissions, which work in the service of the poor and marginalised in the various dioceses. Therefore, it will not be a parallel structure but will integrate existing offices and services to strengthen our capacity, collaborate, and be systematic in the way we do charity.

Rev Fr Joachom Rober (Chairman of Caritas Penang) ; Bishop of Penang Diocese, Rt Rev Sebastian Francis; Chairman of the Diocesan Pastoral Team, Fr Jude Miranda; Priest in residence, Fr Francis Anthony

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