CROSSCARE APPEAL 2012
Speaking Notes of
Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin
Archbishop of Dublin
17th September 2012
Sometimes actions speak louder than words. Just looking at this building and seeing what happens here is the best way to allow the message and work of Crosscare to speak for itself.
Crosscare has put huge effort into ensuring that the buildings it uses and the services it provides are of the highest quality. It does so out of respect for the dignity of every person who crosses a Crosscare door.
Crosscare, in the midst of the current economic challenges and cut-backs in funding and services, continues to be innovative and to identify areas where services are inadequate.
This service is an example of Crosscare’s philosophy. It is open to the local community and it addresses the needs of a group of young people whose needs might well have been overlooked at a vital period in their lives.
Most of the young people who come here have been in care for some time. Here, they find support and encouragement and stability at a crucial time in their lives; those important years of development between 18 and 20. They are encouraged to continue their studies, given a sense of their own self worth and hope for the future. The young people in turn, respond enthusiastically. A number of those who come here have scholarships to third level education. This centre enables them to achieve something of which they might well have dreamed, but probably never thought they would actually realise. I congratulate Crosscare and I congratulate the young people themselves.
Crosscare’s work has a special focus on those who are especially vulnerable. Those who were vulnerable in the days of Ireland’s wealth are the ones who are still most vulnerable today. They are the people who drew very little benefit from our economic expansion. Their lives up to now have been a struggle.
For many people austerity has meant having to cutback and learn to live with less. For those people who were already struggling and finding it difficult to cope, the burden can be too much. Austerity and cutbacks for them could mean that they are destined to remain vulnerable and marginalised for life.
We must be realistic. In today’s economic situation there have to be cut backs in public expenditure and that this will affect social protection. The Department of Social Protection, to its credit, has made it is policy to fight to ensure that the budget for social services is protected as far as possible. However, for those whose current vulnerability places them in a situation of precariousness, cutbacks would be devastating.
The voluntary sector, to which Crosscare belongs, is not simply a substitute when public services are restricted. The voluntary sector brings its own special contribution to social protection and development. Crosscare represents what is best in the voluntary sector, carefully controlling its expenditure, opening new paths and new areas which are not being served, using discretion in the manner in which it offers services.
As part of our preparation for the Eucharistic Congress we offered those who day-by-day receive nourishment and companionship at Crosscare centres a meal in Saint Andrew’s Church in Westland Row. Some thought my choice of a Church was on the borders of blasphemy. I wanted to show those who come to Crosscare’s centres that they too belong to the Church that was celebrating the Congress and that they are not marginalised from the Church. I wanted to remind the believing community that Communion with Christ must blossom forth into communion with one another, the theme of the Eucharistic Congress
Crosscare’s work, as a service of the Church in the Archdiocese of Dublin, must then be marked by a real sense of communion in which those who cross its doors are not clients of an anonymous bureaucracy, but are treated with dignity and welcomed as brothers and sisters. Crosscare rejoices especially when young people, from a centre like this, can find answers to marginalisation through being able to develop their talents and flourish in their lives.
A centre like this shows that people on the margins of our society can develop into the achievers in our society. Crosscare looks on all those who use its services as men and women, young and old, who can be enabled to flourish to the fullest degree possible. That is God’s design. I appeal to the Catholic community in the Archdiocese to support the Crosscare appeal and in their own way to show that we are a Church which witness to the self-giving love of Jesus. ENDS