27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

"Your Pain is My Pain"

 

To day we celebrate the Feast of St Vincent de Paul. Despite his extensive work for charity he still managed to write extensively and give weekly conferences to Priests  and  Sisters. Many of these conferences were recorded by secretaries. Hence we have a large archive of  his teachings, from which many of the familiar quotations attributed to him come from.

 

My favourite quotation of his is “Your pain, is my pain”, which he used to express his identity with the suffering of others. This  quotation  is all the more relevant to day as we see the suffering of so many migrants seeking a new life. So often, I say to myself, “There but for the Grace of God, go I.” Five years ago the people of Syria were living their normal lives, but the destruction and upheaval of war has devastated their lives and reduced them to desperation. They are turning to us for help, can we be generous in response and see that “Their  pain is our pain”.

 

The challenge to respond becomes all the more urgent as Pope Francis calls on us to help “I make an appeal to every parish, to every religious community, to monasteries, and sanctuaries of all Europe to express the concreteness of the Gospel, and to welcome a family of refugees”.

 

Here in Westminster Diocese the work is being co-ordinated by Caritas – the Diocesan Agency for Charities. John Colby the Director has written to each parish. “I am writing to you to ask for your help and the help of your parish in responding to the current and on-going refugee crisis. Following the announcement that  the  UK will accept 20,000  Syrian  refugees  over the next five years, at Caritas Westminster we are coordinating assistance for refugees in line with Cardinal Vincent and Archbishop Peter Smith’s pledge to work with the government. Although the government is developing a framework for supporting the arrival of Syrian refugees, as a Church we need to be prepared  to welcome vulnerable and newly arrived people into our communities in the form practical support for refugees.

Your parish can join us in offering this support. These services will include, but are not limited to: Help with languages, Legal advice, Medical services ,Befriending Basic necessities, such as clothing, shoes, toiletries, food parcels,  toys  etc."

 

Each parish has been asked to compile a record with the details of potential volunteers which  we  will be doing shortly. If you wish to participate in any way please come and talk to me.

Fr Kevin O'Shea, C.M.