24 September 2015, The Tablet

Better to light a candle: The Tablet’s social action awards

"Each individual Christian and every community is called to be an instrument of God for the liberation and promotion of the poor," Pope Francis wrote in the 2013 Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium.

To celebrate its 175th anniversary this year The Tablet, with the support of the Bible Society, is offering four £1,000 awards to individuals and charities that through their work respond to the Pope’s call.

The charities and people The Tablet is seeking to reward are those that exemplify Catholic Social Teaching (CST) and embody the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity. They are open to teachers and educators, parish and diocesan pastoral ministers, charity and development (J&P) workers and others involved in Catholic social practice. 

There are numerous examples of Catholic social action. Take the St Vincent de Paul Society, which not only offers accommodation to the homeless but also recycles furniture to those in need, organises soup runs and offers counselling.

Then there is Mary’s Meals, a Scottish charity that provides free school meals to more than a million schoolchildren in Africa and Asia. Or Seeking Sanctuary, that offers clothes, toiletries and games to refugees in the “Jungle” shantytown in Calais.

Numerous young people are involved too. Fr Tim Byron SJ, chaplain to the Universities of Manchester, who helps the first student-run food bank in the UK, said the Church fills gaps: “It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness,” he wrote in a blog for [I]The Tablet[E/I] website recently.

To apply for an award – or to nominate a cause – email a 1,000 word description of the organisation and the work they do that relates to Catholic Social Teaching to thetablet@thetablet.co.uk.

There are also six £1,000 bursaries for postgraduate/MA lay students of theology and religion (age 35 or under) at universities in the UK or Republic of Ireland.

To apply, send a 1,000-word essay on the significance of religion in contemporary Britain by the 30 September to thetablet@thetablet.co.uk.

It will be considered by a panel of academics and journalists. Results will be announced and awards made before Christmas. Some winning entries will appear in print or on the website. 



For more information on either the awards or bursaries visit The Tablet awards/bursaries section

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