The Catholic Bishops of Victoria have today released a joint statement announcing the merging of CatholicCare Melbourne and Gippsland, Centacare Ballarat, and CatholicCare Sandhurst, to form a new entity: CatholicCare Victoria.
'On 1 January 2021, the Archdiocese of Melbourne, the Diocese of Ballarat, the Diocese of Sandhurst and the Diocese of Sale will unite in common mission to advance the ministry of Catholic social services in Victoria,’ the statement says, calling it ‘a landmark endeavour for the Church and for the people of Victoria, particularly the most vulnerable.’
With a combined service of more than 180 years, the individual agencies have responded to needs in their communities with compassion and care.
As CatholicCare Victoria, the combined agencies will have enhanced capabilities to respond to those in need, to sponsor initiatives at the breadth and scale that are most effective, and to advocate about and address the root causes of poverty and injustice, thus fulfilling the Church’s commitment to continue the mission of Jesus Christ by proclaiming God’s love for each person and promoting their fullness of life.
‘Building and supporting individuals, families and communities in times of need, especially those who are most disadvantaged, vulnerable and/or marginalised, is key to advancing human dignity and to fostering the common good in our society,’ the statement says.
‘In coming together, we reinforce our shared commitment to social service ministry; offering works of mercy, charity and justice to meet the needs of the vulnerable and marginalised in Victoria, now and into the future.'
'Our Christian mission in action is a call to go to those most in need. This new state-wide approach to offering social services in the way of the Gospel will have at its heart the going out in love, justice, assistance and friendship,' said Melbourne Archbishop Peter A Comensoli.
For the people of Victoria, this will mean a greater choice of services, and improved access to those services.
Each agency has specialist programs that can be scaled up and replicated in other areas of Victoria. For example, Centacare Ballarat’s expertise and experience in providing social housing would be a great asset to establishing similar programs in other areas of need.
CatholicCare Sandhurst has a strong track record as a provider of children’s support services, which can be leveraged to enhance and grow programs across the state.
And CatholicCare Melbourne has a strong School Counselling program which could be scaled up to support student wellbeing statewide.
This solution will ideally help in addressing the root causes of poverty and disadvantage in this state. With statewide data and a deeper understanding of the issues affecting families, CatholicCare Victoria will be better able to inform and influence long-term solutions for the structural causes of entrenched disadvantage.
Read more about CatholicCare Victoria
Kirsten Italiano and Fr Trac Nguyen23 December 2021
Melbourne Catholic21 December 2021