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A reengineered approach to the poor

As the government of Trinidad and Tobago continues to ease COVID-19 restrictions, the Archdiocese’s ‘Let No-One Go Hungry’ campaign has seen “a little tapering off”. However, “that is not where we want to go,” said Vicar for Communications Fr Robert Christo as he gave an update on the project, which was launched Friday, May 1.

He told Catholic News via phone that it is the Archdiocese’s goal of seeing a “proper transitioning” of the project as a reengineered ministry for the poor and to integrate, get to know them, and “deal with their needs”.

“…the dream is to bring them into the fully integrated human family and hopefully if they so desire find a space in the life of the Church,” Fr Christo explained.

When the project was launched live via Trinidad and Tobago Television (TTT) last month, Fr Christo and Vicar for Formations and Priestly Formation Fr Matthew d’Hereaux explained that the appeal is a national drive, not only for donations and distribution but for neighbours to look out for each other and identify where possible to assist.

Fr Christo commented that the project is now at a very interesting and an “exciting turning point” as COVID-19 has allowed them an opportunity to see the reality of the poor.

“…we are at …a tipping point where it is a healthy stage where the team leaders are looking at reengineering poverty and looking at it in a deeper sense of sustainability.”

According to Fr Christo, the Archdiocese has recognised that the poor have always existed and will always “be with us”.

The Church, he said, must become a Church of the poor and not simply as an item on a spreadsheet.

To this end, Fr Christo added,  the Church believes that now is a time for reflection on how to reconnect and bring conversion in recognising the poor as a natural part of the landscape with feelings and dignity.

Questioned on the needs of those who responded to the campaign, Fr Christo commented that there’s a new face of the needy. It’s no longer abject poverty, he said.

He highlighted a collaborative effort is needed among parishes and a social needs committee with persons charged with better serving the poor in a holistic view. He likened this to work done by The Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP), prayer groups and other similar ministries.

Fr Christo further called for discernment and for persons to go where the poor are and where they would not usually come out because of embarrassment. —KJ