Friday August 19th: Love – At the root of it all
August 19, 2022
Monday August 22: Search me, Oh God and know my heart today.
August 22, 2022

Commemorating World Humanitarian Day

Today August 19 is the UN’s World Humanitarian Day with the theme It takes a village. The day reminds of sacrifices made by people to humanitarian causes and needs and the effort of the collective to ameliorate crises.

“Whenever and wherever people are in need, there are others who help them. They are the affected people themselves – always first to respond when disaster strikes – and a global community that supports them as they recover. Far from the spotlight and out of the headlines, they come together to ease suffering and bring hope.”

Humanitarian outreach is at the heart of Catholic Social Teaching, which recognises at foundation, the inherent of dignity of the human person.

There are several main principles to the Church’s Social Teachings:

1. Imago Dei. Every person, regardless of class, race, nationality, sexuality is made in the image of God and thus has inherent dignity.

2. Community, Family: Catholic Teaching recognises that the individual is social, and all systems (economic, political) can affect the ability of individuals to both participate and grow within community. Every person thus has an inherent right to participate in society, seeking together the common good and well-being of all, especially poor and vulnerable people.

3. Rights and Responsibilities: Every person has a fundamental right to life and a right to those things required for human decency. Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities–to one another, to our families, and to the larger society.

4. Preferential Option for the Poor: The most vulnerable of our society must be protected, their dignity upheld, needs met, and they must be allowed to participate and thrive within community.

5. The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers: The basic rights of workers must be respected—the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to the organisation and joining of unions, to private property, and to economic initiative.

6. Solidarity: At the core of the virtue of solidarity is the pursuit of justice and peace. Pope Paul VI taught that “if you want peace, work for justice.” The Gospel calls us to be peacemakers. Our love for all our sisters and brothers demands that we promote peace in a world surrounded by violence and conflict.

7. Care for God’s Creation: We are called to protect people and the planet, living our faith in relationship with all of God’s creation. This environmental challenge has fundamental moral and ethical dimensions that cannot be ignored.

The local Church has always been responsive to the needs of the national community, though such bodies as the CCSJ, which is specially dedicated to Social Justice issues, ecclesial communities and at parish and individual levels.

The following is just a cross-section of the activities of these heroes:

October 2018: When major flooding occurred in parts of northeast and east Trinidad, citizens immediately leapt to assist. Schools, lay ecclesial communities, parishes, and Catholic organisations were at the forefront collecting supplies.

January 2020: Five homes in Sea Lots were rebuilt and blessed after a fire left 12 families homeless. This was spearheaded by the lay ecclesial community Eternal Light Community.

March 2020-2021: Pandemic relief. A hotline was launched at the end of April 2020, and for May there were 2,200 registered calls. By June 2020, the number was 836, 467 in July, 600 in August and 395 in September. Information was sent to specific parishes to distribute food. Organisations and individuals also distributed laptops to schools to help children access their online classes.

2018 to present: Migrant outreach through the Archdiocese’s Ministry for Migrants and Refugees, and the Parish Ministry for Migrants and Refugees (PMMR) who help Venezuelan migrants with, registering, housing, food, and education.

We salute those who in small and big ways sought to assist those in crisis!