Catholic organisations hosted at the Senedd

by Dr. James Campbell

Huw Irranca-Davies AM hosted a meeting of members of the Catholic Education Service and other Catholic voluntary organisations at the Senedd.

Archbishop George Stack and Bishop for Menevia the Rt Rev Tom Burns were also present as were several other AMs to meet the various Catholic organisations present and Dr Philip Managuan Advisor to the CES for Wales.

Archbishop George thanked Huw Irranca-Davies, Assembly Member for Ogmore, for hosting the event and also congratulated Mark Drakeford on his election as First Minister.

He added: “The purpose of our gathering here today is to assure members of the Assembly the desire of the Catholic Church to be a partner in serving the Common Good.”

The Archbishop said that there were in Wales 68 Voluntary Aided Catholic Schools – 52 Primary and 16 Secondary and 45% of pupils were not Catholic. The schools, welcoming pupils from many ethnic backgrounds and other faiths promoted social cohesion, the common good and gave an excellent education.

It was an exciting time for education in Wales, not least new school curriculum. In Catholic schools, religious education and life is the core of the curriculum. The schools taught religious literacy and the foundation of ethos.

Archbishop George said: “Together with the Church in Wales and the Muslim Council of Wales, the Catholic Church was a founder member of Citizens Cymru Wales (Citizens UK) and continues to contribute to membership and finance”.

“Communities organising for power, social justice and the Common Good and a high profile successful campaign on the Living Wage,” were some of the organisations successes

The Archbishop pointed to Caritas, the vehicle or umbrella we have for social action by our Church is Caritas. This supports and encourages parish social outreach like the night-shelters run by the churches in Cardiff, Caerphilly and Barry.

He also highlighted the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Combatting isolation since 1844 the Society had hundreds of volunteers, visiting elderly, housebound, families in distress, dispersing funds, charity shops. There were Minnie Vinnies in primary schools and youth Programmes for 11-18’s. Campaigns for Social Justice.

Archbishop George also paid tribute to Cities of Cardiff and Newport and the town of Bridgend. In cooperation with them the Catholic Church houses four Syrian/Iraqi refugee families and will shortly have one more.

“The Catholic Church has professional expertise of resettlement and we have our own dynamo, Sr. Ruth O’Neill,” he said.

The various Catholic organisations spent two hours meeting and briefing Ams on their work and making valuable contacts.