Caritas is at the heart of the Church, according to Pope Francis. Caritas indeed is one of the three planks on which the Church’s mission stands. The Church’s mission is an integrated mission to evangelize, to nurture and to show love. This is expressed succinctly in Deus Caritas Est when Pope Benedict XVI said “The Church’s deepest nature is expressed in her three-fold responsibility: of proclaiming the word of God (kerygma-martyria), celebrating the sacraments (leitourgia) and exercising the ministry of charity (diakonia). These duties presuppose each other and are inseparable” (Deus Caritas Est, 25).
This stand was reiterated in the Motu Proprio on Caritas which Benedict XVI issued in November 2012. The work of charity is therefor not an after thought or one that is relegated to only one struggling society. It is the joy and the burden f the entire faithful.
Charity is also not a restricted activity of individuals; groups, communities, nations could do charity. ‘The church is also called as a whole to the exercise of the diakonia of charity, whether in the small communities of particular churches or on the level of the universal Church’ (Cf Motu Proprio).
Charity cannot be a haphazard activity. Pope Benedict XVI insisted it must be something organized. Although there is the natural instinct to love and care, charity cannot depend exclusively on instinct or impulse but through a rational process of organization. This is why it is extremely important to coordinate. Coordination begins at the local community/parish level to the diocesan, provincial and subsequently the national office, with has this overall mandate on behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN).
Ever since its establishment, Caritas Nigeria has been doing its best to coordinate activities in the relief and development sector on behalf of the CBCN. This is a no mean task especially considering the autonomous nature of the diocesan institutions. However, the Church is a communion and by nature collaborative. Caritas Nigera would continue to do its best to work along and with the institution it coordinates in spite of perceived challenges.
As a Board, we shall continue to support the mandate and the strategies of Caritas Nigeria so that it becomes not only a world-class organization but a dependable support to those that are most in need.
Our prayer and work therefor is to see Caritas Nigeria fulfill its mission, which is to promote the dignity of all, through participatory measures in line with Church’s tradition of practical love and teaching. I urge every stakeholder not only to read this annual report of 2014 but to buy into the vision and mission of Caritas Nigeria and sacrifice towards its strategic objectives.
This was a Forward message by Most. Rev. Lucius Ugorji to the 2014 Annual Report of Caritas Nigeria/JDPC.
Recently I overheard a fellow cleric asking someone for the address of a certain public agency. I couldn’t hold myself from jumping in and giving him the directions. I wanted to also use the occasion and teach a lesson.
So I interjected and said: “Why do we waste time asking people things we could ask Google?
Just Google it”. We all laughed about it. But we all knew that a new era was at hand, the era of a click. Just a click away and we could get whatever information we require from the cyber-world, although there is a flip side: information deluge. Notwithstanding, no agency could truly be in business in these cyber-times without making an effort to sign-post itself to visitors, passers-by and seekers.
Caritas Nigeria has the mission of advancing the dignity of all through participatory measures in line with Catholic Social Teaching, and a vision of fullness of life to all. In a world that is full of inequalities, this mission and vision has become even more urgent to actualize. Pope Francis has said that the Church is called to “mediate a dialogue between the well off and the urban remnants or half citizens or non- citizens.” (Evageli Gaudi no,74). Caritas Nigeria, on behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, is established to engage in this dialogue, a dialogue of action for the poor. Springing from one human family with God as our heavenly Father and Maker, all human beings are brothers and sisters. Therefore the world’s 7 billion siblings have to have a care for each other. Thank God world leaders are rising to the occasion with the Post 2015 sustainable development agenda with the declaration to end poverty by 2030, and to do all things possible to enhance People, Planet and Prosperity. Caritas Nigeria, on behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, is set to be a leader in this campaign in our part of the world through its programs and outreaches.
Pope Francis has said in Laudato Si, the encyclical on ecology, that everything is connected. “When we fail to acknowledge as part of reality the worth of a poor person, a human embryo, a person with disabilities…it becomes difficult to hear the cry of nature itself; everything is connected.”(Laudato Si, 117).
Caritas Nigeria joins in promoting an integral ecology in which the realization that we are all part of nature and of one origin, would help us care for others and our world. Caritas Nigeria invites everyone to a positive connectivity, where everyone cares for the prosperity of others and our world. A simple gesture towards supporting the mission of Caritas Nigeria could lead to a reduction of the number of those who live in the fringes.
This is a time for those who live in the North to reach directly to those in the South and have greater value for their money. This is a time in which those who live in the South should know that no one is too helpless to help, and so even the feeble can give strength with a smile. The needs are enormous, and only a world united in action could answer to those needs. Jesus the Christ became poor in order to enrich others. Mahatma Ghandhi had said there was enough for everyone’s need but not enough for everyone’s greed.
Caritas Nigeria therefore invites everyone to a new solidarity. As Pope Francis has said, solidarity is not a mere feeling or wish to identify with others, but a conscious decision ‘to restore to the poor what belongs to them’ (Francis, 2013 no 189). A new mindset of the ‘universal destination’ of the resources of the earth should be part of our life; in other words our sense of entitlement to our property gets diluted with the poverty around us. Could anyone truly regard him/herself as rich when there is so much poverty around? We are not helpless. We can do something, we can support Caritas Nigeria.
Thank you for visiting our website. May God bless you as you support the poor that you may never meet but whose prayers shall forever be with you!
Today we celebrate Workers’ Day, and for us in the church, we celebrate as well the memorial of St. Joseph the Worker, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. So may I use this opportunity and thank you all for your contributions towards the development of Caritas Nigeria(CCFN) and to wish you a happy workers’ day.
In Laborem Exercens Blessed John Paul ll said that in work, the human being expresses his/her dignity; in other words, the absence of work or the capacity to work robs one of something of his/her dignity as a human being; and we are not only talking about paid employment but an ability to apply intelligence and effort to bring about something positive. Work is always positive.
I want to thank all of you who have been conscientious in your work. Where I was trained, and how I was brought up, the environment was always free and conducive to personal initiative. Everyone was always treated as mature and responsible. This is the culture we have tried to establish at CCFN, where every staff does his/her best even if no one is standing by with a cane. I sincerely have no capacity to be a ‘headmaster’. In a country where the unemployment rate is put at 23.9%, it becomes a terrible sign of ingratitude for anyone to treat his/her job with levity.
We therefore encourage staff to examine their work attitude and confirm with their consciences whether they are giving their best to Caritas Nigeria(CCFN), and whether they are meeting with expectations. The recent audit has revealed that many staff take for granted simple procedures such as returning time-sheets on which salaries should be based ! Let me assure everyone that we shall fully implement all audit findings and encourage laid down systems to function optimally.
We shall look into any root causes where there is job disaffection and dis-satisfaction and see where the organisation is liable and make correcions, for instance conflicting job schedules or ill-defined job schedules.
Let me assure you however of our resolve to do our best to fulfil the mandate the Bishops gave to us. The Bishops entrusted us with the duty of establishing a professional organisation. Everyone recruited into CCFN was based on a belief that the person would add value. If anyone has become a liability rather than an asset please find a way to make yourself resourceful and justify the earnings you receive.
To this end we will plan sessions for supervisors to enable them be of greater use to their supervisees. A supervisor should be able to provide psycho-social support to struggling staff and wear the cap of a mentor even though mentorship request usually originates from a mentee. In otherwords an enriching relationship should be firmed up, where the supervisor gives adequate support to the supervisee. While supervisors should not become ‘Lords’, we expect that the interest of the organisation will drive performance management and appraisal of supervisees.
I implore you all to join hands with me to make the Bishops’ mandate sustainable.
Recently we had challenges with taxes. We have done our best to reduce the burden. For instance the percentage of stewardship has gone down, including welfare and we have turned 13th month to gratuity. Even then the tax burden is high, except for those who have done life insurance. As everything works together for the good of those who believe, the tax issue has given impetus to majority of staff to go into life cover. Even though our best intentions are sometimes misconstrued, I encourage everyone to make use of the opportunity, for it is by saving for the future that people prepare for the future.
Once more I wish everyone a happy workers’ day and pray that God bless the works of our hands. Amen.
Fr. Evaristus Bassey
As we celebrate the International Women’s Day, I congratulate all the women who work at Caritas Nigeria.
Women are known to be selfless and to give the best of themselves to whatever they do. Being a woman is not therefore a reason to lag behind but a motivation to excel. We are proud that at Caritas Nigeria we do not throw huddles at women but enable the environment for everyone to work gracefully. Women who do not live up to expectation will not be because they are women, but because they have not optimized their potential and the opportunities provided.
I pray that every woman continues to achieve her best dreams, even as CARITAS Nigeria provides the enabling environment.
God bless you all.
Fr Evaristus Bassey,