The UN has designated 5th September, the anniversary of the death of Mother Teresa, International Day of Charity. This is an opportunity to raise awareness, and to recognise the value and contribution volunteers and charitable organisations make to the local, national and international relief of poverty. For us here at Caritas Diocese of Salford, ‘charity’ is our rationale for existing and as part of the Church’s deepest nature it cannot be separated from faith as charity is first and foremost an expression of love; for God, ourselves and our neighbour! Charity also needs to be understood as ‘justice’ as it must also promote the rights of the marginalised and underprivileged people who are being denied their humanity through man-made conflict situations and unjust systems that deny people their freedom and their rights to live fulfilled and dignified lives.
With the current Covid-19 pandemic still affecting so many people throughout this country and the world, the UN International Day of Charity is an important opportunity to thank many people for their voluntary work during the challenging times of the Coronavirus. The charitable activities of our volunteers are an example of courage and commitment at this challenging time and greatly appreciated by those who benefit from our services. The generous actions of volunteers have sustained our charitable services and without their help Caritas would not have been able to provide the quality of the services that we have been able to maintain over the last few months.
These are vital services during the best of times, but all the more necessary now and for the foreseeable future. However, as we reflect on the importance of charity, let us not forget that it must be accompanied by justice so that we create the change that can bring about a new normal where the scandal of poverty and the denial of human rights has no place.