Spain, Portugal, Poland

Spain: work for those at exclusion-risk The diocesan Caritas of Jaén promotes the “Caritas Jaén Foundation”, an initiative aimed at the job inclusion of those socially excluded or at risk of social exclusion. “The Caritas Jaén Foundation intends to provide legal support to initiatives aimed at job placement, enterprises and social economy”, said Juan Raya, vicar of the Charity of the diocese. “Despite a large number of public initiatives, they are still insufficient, given a 40% unemployment rate registered in local districts – Raya said -. With humbleness we want to bring a grain of sand for the resolution of the problem. We don’t have many resources, but a lot of enthusiasm and the faith we place in everything we do”. The director of the diocesan Caritas of Jaén, Rafael López-Sidro, clarified that first of all will be collected the provincial data on people at risk of social exclusion and the resources available. This will entail the creation of a social and labour information office and participation in national or international projects, which give priority to the job placement of disadvantaged groups. The second target will be the signing of agreements with enterprises, the processing of candidates’ profiles with participants in identified labour sectors, the creation of workshops and the promotion of economic activities. Finally, an agenda will be drawn up for verification of target achievements. The bishop, monsignor Ramón del Hoyo López, underlined that Caritas and the Foundation have a “complex challenge” ahead of them, as the project is addressed to “the last” on line. The enthusiasm and commitment is such that “if only one person will obtain a dignified working condition all these efforts will have been worthwhile”. Portugal: the crisis leaves a poorer country behind According to economic analysts and experts in the Catholic world, the program for the allocation of financial support to Portugal, drawn up three years ago in agreement with EU regulatory bodies, and terminated over the past days, has left “a poorer Country behind, which is still exposed to potential risks”. The President of Caritas Portugal, Eugénio Fonseca, said: “Those who were already experiencing vulnerable situations went through a dramatic phase, that dragged into a state of poverty people that would never have imagined to find themselves one day in a state of indigence, without basic goods”. Adriano Moreira, one of the personalities that signed the so-called “70 Manifesto” demanding immediate Portuguese debt restructure, said that the solution resides in the extinction of economic avidity. “The market should be monitored and regulated by an ethical code: the Country witnesses the departure of the ‘bureaucrats of the Troika’, but the same cannot be said for the end of international supervision, austerity, and sacrifices that lie ahead”. “The exit from EU supervision, emphatically announced by the government – said the economic expert of Catholic University, João César das Neves – should not lead to excessive optimism. Rather, just like a person that wakes up from a state of coma, it brings a certain degree of satisfaction, since the situation was practically desperate”. Poland: evangelizing in rural communities The third national Congress of the new evangelization, scheduled to take place in May 2015 will be dedicated to rural areas. It was decided by the group of the Polish episcopate responsible for the new evangelization. The Congress organized at the Marian Shrine of Skrzatusz, in north-west region of Poland (dioceses of Koszalin and Kolobrzeg), “will enable to get an overview of problems and successes of the new evangelization in rural environments”, said the promoters engaged in “helping shepherds choose the best evangelization tools”. 48% of the Polish population lives in rural areas, increasingly populated in the past years. “There is a great need to evangelize these environments today”, said Fr Jacek Dubel, coordinator of the Group for the new Evangelization for the Bishops’ Conferences. He added: “given the diversity of the Polish countryside the challenges are equally multifarious”, since the situations of parishes on traditionally agricultural lands in the south of Poland, those that include the kolchoz set up by the communist regime through the forced nationalization of lands, and finally the parishes located nearby large urban centre’s. Moreover, the promoters of the Congress pointed out: “the presence of parish councils, circles of country housewife’s or sport and folkloric centre’s in rural areas can act as a natural ground for the new evangelization”. The person in charge of the Polish episcopate for the new evangelization Msgr. Grzegorz Rys is also convinced of the important role of parish priests and schools on which is “concentrated the life of each and every small rural community”.

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