Any Church community, if it thinks it can comfortably go its own way without creative concern and effective cooperation in helping the poor to live with dignity and reaching out to everyone, will also risk breaking down, however much it may talk about social issues or criticize governments. It will easily drift into a spiritual worldliness camouflaged by religious practices, unproductive meetings and empty talk.

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium [207]

Catholic Social Services Victoria (CSSV) is the peak body for Catholic social services across the state. Underpinned by Catholic Social Teaching, we work with our 40+ member organisations, to assist the Catholic bishops and broader Catholic community across Victoria, to fulfil the gospel imperatives to stand with and serve the poor, disadvantaged and marginalised, and to work for a just, equitable and compassionate society.

Collectively, CSSV and our members support the bishops of Victoria and their parish communities across the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, the Catholic Diocese of Sale, the Catholic Diocese of Sandhurst and the Catholic Diocese of Ballarat. Our Catholic community in Victoria includes 315 parishes and 1.2 million Catholics. We aim to encourage and support parish communities to be centres of service, compassion and welcome, for those in need.

The nature of CSSV’s work is necessarily cooperative and collaborative. To be a coherent body, which is truly able to work in a multi-faceted way on the issues facing Victoria, CSSV relies on the intimate involvement of the Bishops of Victoria and their offices, religious congregations, our 45 member organisations and their 7,000 staff, and the communities which make up the 315 parishes across Victoria.

Catholic social service agencies do not stand alone in their work for right social relationships and CSSV has continued to make efforts to bring together and work closely with other groups and sectors – education, health and business as well as ecumenical efforts and other faith communities and Government.  We rely on and work closely with our interstate and federal counterparts and collegiate bodies throughout the Australian Church. This is how we work to build a society of justice and compassion.

CSSV convenes working groups and steering committees for research and project work, to make submissions and join in solidarity with various campaigns that incorporate and disseminate the knowledge of members and collaborators from across Victoria to positively influence Government leadership and policy decisions. In this way, we aim to benefit all Victorians.

We must teach more by example than by word.

Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop

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