WelCom November 2023
Kamau Holland, Catholic Social Services, Wellington
Every year Pope Francis calls us to encounter with the poor; to be with the poor. In his World Day of the Poor message this year, he calls us again to seek out, listen to, and befriend the poor.
Our challenge is to grow our awareness of the poor and what it means to be poor, from beyond a day, to becoming an ongoing community of encountering and listening to those in need.
In the Archdiocese of Wellington, Archbishop Paul Martin sm invites us to consider how we can reinvigorate and reorient our hearts through the World Day of the Poor and reignite the aspirations of archdiocese’s 2017 Synod: ‘Go you are sent’. Instead of it being an annual one-off event, he wants us to consider how we can grow the World Day of the Poor as a way of being an ongoing community of encounter – one that listens and befriends the poor.
Archbishop Paul encourages us to explore the spirituality of ‘meeting and talking’ to transform our understanding of being a follower of Christ and to change our narrative from ‘other’ to ‘us’.
The archdiocese Catholic Social Services (CSS) and the Environmental, Justice and Peace (EJP) Commission groups have been talking with people in the community to explore this deep invitation – to be still, to stop, to listen to one another and to befriend the poor.
Our conversations are discovering people who already live this way daily – by encountering others, sharing what they have and listening and responding to those of their community most in need.
Our discussions have included questions such as: ‘Who are our poor? How do you know? Is this word ‘poor’ appropriate for Aotearoa in 2023? And is doing good works or donating money enough to answer the invitation to encounter and befriend the poor? How do we know what is happening for one another? How do we discover what people really need?’
Invitation to share your stories
CSS and the EJP Commission genuinely would like to involve you in our conversations and invite you to join us. Are you drawn to this kōrero [conversation] and would you like to share your story with us? If so, we would like to meet with you to listen and respond. Please contact Deirdre Meskill at email@example.com or ph (04) 385-8642.