Communique issued at the end of the Second Plenary Meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province held at the Jubilee Conference Centre, Oke-Ado, Ibadan, from August 17-18, 2015.

August 24, 2015

Theme: Choose Today Whom You Will Serve

 

Preamble and Thanksgiving

We, members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province, comprising of Ibadan Archdiocese, Ondo, Ilorin, Oyo, Ekiti and Osogbo Dioceses thank God for His blessings over us, our Dioceses and our country, Nigeria, since we last met in January 2015. We thank God for bringing our country and peoples through the national elections during the year and we appreciate God’s goodness for the hope and vigour which the outcome therefrom has restored in our nation. We pray that our hopes and aspirations for a greater Nigeria where peace, truth and justice thrive may be realized in the current administration. Having prayerfully deliberated here on matters of concern to our Church and our nation, we issue the following Communique:

  1. The ongoing Year for the Consecrated Life

We congratulate all Consecrated Persons again on the celebration of the ongoing Year for the Consecrated Life which will end on 2nd February, 2016. As a theme, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, has asked all Consecrated Persons to “Wake up the World”. In the opening paragraph of his Apostolic Exhortation, Vita Consacrata, St. John Paul II also wrote: “By the profession of the evangelical counsels the characteristic features of Jesus — the chaste, poor and obedient one — are made constantly ‘visible’ in the midst of the world and the eyes of the faithful are directed towards the mystery of the Kingdom of God already at work in history, even as it awaits its full realization in heaven”. We urge our Consecrated people to diligently work towards the realization of these deep and pertinent words of the Popes. In doing this, our entire Province and the world will be pervaded with the rich fragrance of God’s love and mercy.

  1. The Pro-Life and Family Life Conference

We express gratitude to God and to all who contributed to the success of the Ibadan Provincial International Pro-Life and Family Life Conference held in April 2015 at the Pope John Paul II Centre, Seat of Wisdom Chaplaincy, University of Ibadan. The echoes of the conference have continued to reverberate in our Parishes and even beyond Nigeria. We enjoin all the Delegates, Institutions and Dioceses to continue to infuse the grassroots and the general public with the life-enhancing fruits of the exercise. We must continue to bear courageous witness to the love of God for humanity by sending his only Son that all might be saved. We commit ourselves to hosting more of such conferences to positively animate and energise our Church and society in order to safeguard them from anti-life ideologies and activities.

  1. The Recent National World Youth Day

We congratulate our young people on the recent National World Youth Day Celebration with the theme, “Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy”, held in the Archdiocese of Benin City. We thank the Archbishop and the Archdiocese for hosting thousands of our young people in such a commendable manner. We urge our youth to positively respond to the theme of the eminent gathering. Too often, young people today are accused of violence, delinquency and sundry misdemeanour. We challenge our Catholic youth to spearhead the effort to change that impression, especially with the wave of the renewed hope in Nigeria. We ask them to strive to become credible agents of change and apostles of God’s mercy to families, to our country and to the world. This must be done through a positive engagement with modern media and a deliberate commitment to good morals and behaviours. We ask them to remember in all their dealings that honesty remains the best policy and a hallmark of faith and Christianity.

  1. The Synod on the Family

As the Universal Church draws closer to the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family, we urge our people to continue to pray fervently for the successful outcome of the event. We call on all the Delegates to the Synod to courageously bear witness to the plan of God for humanity in creating man and woman and the family relationship. In the face of strong opposition, the world today will greatly benefit from the confirmation of the understanding of marriage as a union of a man, woman and by God’s grace, children. We restate our unmitigated belief in the sanctity of Human Life and Family Life. We emphasize that it is the duty of civil authorities to ensure that all human life is protected from conception to natural end. Society must do everything possible to facilitate the growth of family living as a way of promoting responsible parenthood, good upbringing of children and reducing juvenile delinquency.

  1. Governance and the Desire for a new Nigeria

We note the renewed hope for a new Nigeria generated in our country since the last general elections. We thank Almighty God for the relatively limited violence and bloodshed during the exercise. We call on our compatriots to cooperate with the current administration to bring sanity back into our country by showing common determination to reject corruption, nepotism, favouritism and to enthrone in our country a regime of justice and equity, where merits are respected and the rule of law exalted.

Conclusion

Nigeria has been recognised as one of the most religious countries in the world. Yet our prayers can only truly be answered if we do the will of God as He has commanded. We therefore say to all our compatriots in the words of Joshua the son of Nun: “….Choose today whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in Mesopotamia….as for me and my household, I will serve Yahweh (Joshua 24:15).

    

Most Rev. Gabriel Abegunrin                       Most Rev. Felix Ajakaye

Archbishop of Ibadan                                               Bishop of Ekiti

President                                                                   Secretary.

African Youth to Combat New Forms of Slavery and Colonialisation

August 24, 2015

The youth in Africa have been called upon to  combat the new forms of slavery and colonialisation on the continent. This appeal was made by the President of the Episcopal Conference of the the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bishop Nicola Djomo, at the opening ceremony of a meetng of Pan-African  Catholic Youth and Children that is being held in Kinshasa, DRC  from August 21-25, 2 015.

The Youth in Africa, he said, should not allow false trappings of wealth lure them to move out of their countries in search of non-existent jobs in Europe and America. ” Be vigilant of the deceptions of the new forms  of the destruction of the culture of life, moral, and spiritual values. Use your talents and other resources to renew and transform our continent and for the promotion of lasting  justice, peace, and reconciliation in Africa. You are a treasure for Africa. The Church relies on you, your continent needs you ” Bishop Djomo emphasised. He further urged the youth to study and understand the  Social Teaching of the Church to enable them be of more service to the Chuch in Africa and their various countries.

The  about 120 participants representing a number of countries in Africa participating in three-day meeting taking place at the  Catholic Centre of Nganda in Kinshasa were welcomed by an  Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Kinshasa, Bishop Jean-Poierre Kwambamba. The meeting has been organised by the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) in collaboration with the Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO).

In a message presented on behalf of the Secretary General of SECAM, Rev. Fr. Fr. Komakoma, the Director of Communcations of SECAM outlined the objectives of the meeting

a. as part of preparation towards engaging the youth of Africa in the promotion of Justice, Peace, Good Governance and Reconciliation at the National, Regional and Continental levels; involving the  youth in the celebration of the  African Year of Reconciliation (from July 29, 2015 to July 29, 2016);

b. to institute a Pan-African Organisation for bringing together at the continentl level Catholic Action Movements for the Youth and Children, and

c. To consider the possiblity of hosting, in the near future, a World Youth Day in Africa.

He pointed out that  SECAM is giving priority attention to the youth who form about 70 per cent of the population of Africa. ” The youth are therefore the most important sector of the African population on whom the Church ought to count on, as a pririoty , in the scope of Chuch’s evangelisation’s efforts such as the promotion of justice, peace, reconciliation,   and socio-economic development of our continent.” he added.

Later in the day Fr. Komakoma in addressing the participants urged them to take charge of their own pastrol engagements with the  guidance of their Chaplains.

Some of the topics that are being treated at the meeting are:

i. The Politcal, Economic and Socio-cultural Context of Africa Today;

ii. Opportunities for the Youth in  the Society and in the Church- The Role of the Church in Africa Today;

iii. The Social Doctrine of the Church within an African Context with particular reference to Theology;

iv. Leadership- Role of the  African Woman;

v. Role of the Youth in the Church Today: A challenge for the youth in the Continental Year of Reconciliation.

There will be Workshops for coming up with concrete Regional and Continental programmes and projects for the year of Reconciliation and other issues discussed during the  five-day meeting.

In another development, the particiapnts  had the opportunity of participating in a  seven-thousand strong Youth Convention of the Archdiocese of Kinshasa that was addressed by Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo of Kinshasa.  The Cardinal’s public Catechesis was on the theme: Fraternity, Dialogue, Justice and Reconciliation  in reference to Ephesians 2: 12-19 He also answered questions by the youth. The issues raised included that of politics, Church-State relations, economic, social and cultural challenges that are confronting them-the youth.

The Meeting on theme: “EDUCATION FOR THE CULTURE OF PEACE AND RECONCILIATION” was coordinated by Rev. Fr. Leonard Sentedi, Secretary General of CENCO and  the Secretary General of the Regional Episcopal Conference of Centra Africa, Rev. Fr. M. Edouard Mombili.

Apart from the host Country-DRC, Egypt has the largest number of participants

Prepared by Benedict Assorow

Director of Communications, SECAM (Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar)

La Jeunesse Africaine Lutte Contre les Nouvelles Formes d’Esclavage et de Colonisation

August 24, 2015

La jeunesse africaine a été invitée à lutter contre les nouvelles formes d’esclavage et de colonisation prévalant sur le continent. Cette invitation a été lancée par le Président de la Conférence Épiscopale Nationale du Congo (CENCO), Monseigneur Nicolas Djomo, lors de la cérémonie d’ouverture d’une réunion de la Jeunesse Catholique Panafricaine qui s’est tenue à Kinshasa, en RDC,  du 21 au 25 août 2015.

Les jeunes africains, a-t-il dit, ne doivent pas se laisser leurrer par les pièges de quitter leurs pays en quête d’emplois non-existants en Europe et en Amérique. “Prenez garde aux  tromperies de nouvelles formes de destruction de la culture de la vie, des valeurs morales et spirituelles. Utilisez vos talents et les autres ressources à votre disposition pour renouveler et de transformer notre continent et pour la promotion d’une justice, une paix et une réconciliation durables en Afrique.  Vous êtes le trésor de l’Afrique. L’Église compte sur vous, votre continent a besoin de vous”, a insisté Monseigneur Djomo.   Par ailleurs, il en a appelé à la jeunesse d’étudier et de comprendre l’enseignement social de l’Église pour permettre aux jeunes de mieux être au service de l’Église africaine et aux services de leurs pays respectifs.

Environ 120 participants représentant un certain nombre de pays africains ont pris part à ces assises de trois jours au Centre Catholique Nganda. Ils ont été accueillis par un Évêque Auxiliaire  de l’Archidiocèse de Kinshasa, Monseigneur Jean-Pierre Kwambamba. La réunion a été organisée par le Symposium de la Conférence Épiscopale de l’Afrique et du Madagascar (SCEAM) en collaboration avec la CENCO.

Dans un message lu au nom du Secrétaire Général du SCEAM, le Révérend Frère Komakoma, Directeur des Communications du SCEAM, a présenté les objectifs de la reunion:

a. dans le cadre de la préparation vers l’engagement de la jeunesse africaine à la promotion de la justice, la paix, la bonne gouvernance et la réconciliation au niveau national, régional et continental; impliquer la jeunesse pour la célébration de l’Année Africaine de la Réconciliation (du 29 juillet 2015 au 29 juillet 2016);

b. instituer une Organisation Panafricaine qui rassemble au niveau continental les Mouvements Catholiques d’Action pour les Jeunes et les Enfants; et

c. envisager la possibilité d’organiser, dans un futur proche, une Journée Mondiale de la Jeunesse africaine.

Il a indiqué que le SCEAM accorde une attention prioritaire aux jeunes qui constituent environ 70% de la population africaine. “Les jeunes constituent par conséquent la tranche la plus importante de la population sur laquelle l’Église doit compter, de manière prioritaire, dans le cadre des efforts d’évangélisation de l’Église, tels que la promotion de la justice, la paix, la réconciliation, et le développement de notre continent” a-t-il ajouté.

Plus tard dans la journée, le Frère Komakoma s’est adressé aux participants et leur a demandé de s’approprier leurs engagements pastoraux, ce, sous la supervision des aumôniers des jeunes.

Au nombre des questions en discussion pendant la réunion se trouvent:

i. le contexte politique, économique et socioculturel de l’Afrique aujourd’hui;

ii. opportunités pour les jeunes dans la société et l’église – Rôle de l’église en Afrique aujourd’hui;

iii. La doctrine sociale de l’église dans le contexte africain, aperçu théologique;

iv. Leadership – Rôle de la femme africaine;

v. Rôle de la jeunesse dans l’Église aujourd’hui: Un défi pour les jeunes dans l’année de la réconciliation

Des ateliers seront organisés pour la formulation des programmes et projets concrets au niveau régional et continental pour l’année de la réconciliation ainsi que pour les autres questions discutées lors de la réunion de cinq jours.

En outre, les participants ont pu prendre part à une convention regroupant sept mille jeunes de l’Archidiocèse de Kinshasa à laquelle s’est adressé le Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo de Kinshasa.   Le message du Cardinal était axé sur le thème suivant: « Fraternité, Dialogue, Justice Et Réconciliation » en exploitant le texte d’Ephésiens 2: 12-19. Il a également répondu aux questions des jeunes. Les préoccupations soulevées touchaient sur la politique, sur les relations entre l’église et l’état, sur les défis économiques, sociaux et culturels auxquels font face les jeunes.

La réunion sous le thème : « L’EDUCATION POUR LA CULTURE DE LA PAIX ET DE LA RECONCILIATION » a été coordonnée par le Révérend Frère Léonard Sentedi, Secrétaire Général de la CENCO, et par le Secrétaire Général de la Conférence Épiscopale Régionale de l’Afrique Centrale, le Révérend M. Edouard Mombili.

Hormis la RDC, pays organisateur, l’Égypte avait le plus grand nombre de participants.

Préparé par Benedict Assorow

Directeur de Communications du SCEAM (Symposium des Conférences Episcopales d’Afrique et de Madagascar)

Félicitations à la Plateforme de Paix interreligieuse de Centrafrique

July 11, 2015

Mgr Dieudonné Nzapalainga et l’Imam Oumar Kobine Layama

Le Président de Caritas Centrafrique, Mgr Dieudonné Nzapalainga, et l’Imam Oumar Kobine Layama seront recompensés en tant que fondateurs de la Plateforme de Paix interreligieuse de Centrafrique. Ils recevront, en compagnie de leur collègue, le Pasteur Nicolas Guérékoyamémé-Gbangou le Prix Sergio Vieira de Mello.

Photo : Elodie Perriot/Secours Catholique.

Congratulations to the Central Africa Interfaith Peace Platform

July 11, 2015

Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga, and Imam Oumar Kobine Layama.

Caritas Central Africa President, Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga, and Imam Oumar Kobine Layama were chosen for the Sergio Vieira de Mello Award as founders of the Interfaith Peace Platform in the Central African Republic. They will receive the award along with their colleague Pastor Nicolas Guérékoyamémé-Gbangou.

Photo by Elodie Perriot/Secours Catholique.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, President, Caritas Internationalis

July 10, 2015

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Caritas Internationalis new President (elected May 2015) introduces Caritas Internationalis in his TV programme “The Word Exposed” produced by Jescom, the media arm of the Society of Jesus – Philippine Province http://www.jescom.ph.

Financing for Development in Addis Ababa: a crucial step for our future

July 10, 2015
Card Tagle

Cardinal Luis Antonio TAGLE, President, Caritas Internationalis.

The Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa in July is the first of three important high-level international meetings that will mark 2015. It will determine the international community’s level of financial commitment (reforms and resources) to combat poverty and inequality over the next 15 years.

It will be followed by adoption of the Post–2015 Development Agenda (including 17 Sustainable Development Goals) in New York in September 2015 and the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 21) in Paris in December 2015.

During these meetings, heads of state will have to show their determination to decide the future of our planet and put in place the three pillars of sustainable development: social, economic and environmental.

The ambition that world leaders will show at the Conference on Financing for Development is therefore vital for the success of the subsequent meetings. Without adequate resources for financing for development, the impact of the SDGs and possible agreement in Paris will be limited. Failure in Addis Ababa risks harming the international community’s political will ahead of the other key deadlines in 2015.

Do the world’s states really wish to make the economy and finance serve the full development of all of us and conservation of our natural resources? Will they allow all countries to participate in economic and financial decisions?

Or will states let private actors, who are more concerned about their short-term profits than the common good, to strengthen their grip on the world’s social and economic choices? Will the restricted enclaves reserved for the most powerful be favoured in deciding the fate of the entire world and its future?

Government representatives should go beyond national selfishness and short-term interests if they want to reach a satisfactory agreement to respect the dignity and participation of all states, especially the most fragile ones, and not endanger the discussions on sustainable development and the climate change.

In the preparatory documents, the gap is currently huge between the objectives aimed at (a transformative agenda, a changed economic and social model,…) and the solutions proposed (increased room for large companies, international rules defined by the most powerful countries,…).

On the one hand, the rich countries (mostly OECD members) want to appeal to the private sector on a massive scale to finance this agenda via incentives, and favour restricted decision-making spaces they themselves control (OECD, G20, international financial institutions,…) rather than more inclusive spaces (UN).

For example, they currently reject the idea that international tax regulations may be discussed and decided on within a UN framework, preferring the OECD from which the majority of countries are excluded. They therefore cannot assert their needs and expectations in order to be able to adequately mobilise their resources and effectively combat tax evasion. This is also the case with debt problems, an issue currently being dealt with by the Paris Club, which only brings together creditor countries.

For their part, the developing countries (primarily G77 members and China, amounting to 134 countries), supported by civil society organisations, are demanding more inclusive mechanisms within UN frameworks regarding global economic and financial governance.

Countries who want to attract investment will be reluctant  to put in place measures to guarantee respect of rights and the environment. Yet it is necessary to ensure that large companies, driven by their quest for large and quick profits, are compelled to respect social, cultural, environmental and fiscal norms to guarantee a real contribution to sustainable development.

There is a concern that the facilities granted to the private sector may lead to an economy dominated by finance with appalling consequences for countries whose banking supervision systems are still fragile. It is finance that should seek to serve achievement of the common good and not the other way round.

Debates clearly reflect the wish of rich countries to merge the Financing for Development policy with the wider Post-2015 Development Agenda. However, this political space centred on financing for Development is currently the only one that enables discussion of the global economic and financial architecture by bringing together the world’s states and stakeholders (the UN, international finance institutions,  the private sector, civil society).

Relegating this political process to the rank of sub-section of the Post-2015 Development Agenda amounts to making it gradually disappear to the benefit of not very inclusive frameworks such as the G20, the OECD and IFIs (the IMF and the World Bank).

Caritas Internationalis attaches great importance to the success of this conference at which states should commit themselves to financing the development of poor countries and putting in place fair and inclusive international rules that would enable equitable allocation of resources and prevent the unbridled activities of the private sector and speculative markets from having negative impacts on populations, primarily the most vulnerable ones, and the environment.

 

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle

President of Caritas Internationalis

Financement du Développement à Addis-Abeba : étape cruciale pour notre futur

July 10, 2015
Card Tagle

Cardinal Luis Antonio TAGLE, Président de Caritas Internationalis.

La conférence d’Addis-Abeba sur le Financement du Développement en juillet est la première des trois grandes rencontres internationales de haut niveau qui marqueront 2015. Elle déterminera le niveau d’engagement financier (réformes et moyens) de la communauté internationale pour lutter contre la pauvreté et les inégalités dans les 15 années à venir.

Suivront l’adoption de l’agenda Post -2015 pour le développement durable (dont les 17 Objectifs du Développement Durable) à New York en septembre 2015 et la 21e Conférence des Parties de la Convention cadre des Nations Unies sur les Changements Climatiques (COP 21) pour le Climat à Paris en décembre 2015.

Lors de ces trois rencontres, les chefs d’Etat devront faire preuve de détermination pour décider du futur de notre planète et mettre en place les trois piliers du développement durable : social, économique et environnemental.

L’ambition qu’afficheront les dirigeants du monde lors de la conférence pour le Financement du Développement est donc cruciale pour la réussite de ces conférences. En effet, sans moyens adéquats pour le financement du développement, l’impact des ODD et d’un possible accord de Paris ne pourra être conséquent. De plus un échec à Addis Abeba risquerait d’entamer la volonté politique de la communauté internationale, avant les autres échéances majeures de 2015.

Les Etats du monde entier souhaiteront-ils remettre réellement l’économie et la finance au service de l’épanouissement de chacun et de la préservation de nos ressources naturelles ? Permettront-ils permettre à chaque pays de pouvoir participer aux décisions économiques et financières ?

Ou les Etats laisseront-ils des acteurs privés, plus soucieux de leurs profits à court terme que du bien commun, renforcer leur emprise sur les choix sociaux et économiques du monde ? Les enceintes restreintes réservées aux plus puissants seront-elles privilégiées pour décider du sort du monde entier et de son futur ?

Les représentants gouvernementaux se doivent de dépasser les intérêts nationaux et les gains de court terme s’ils souhaitent parvenir à un accord satisfaisant pour respecter la dignité et la participation de tous les  Etats, notamment les plus fragiles, et ne pas mettre en péril les discussions sur le développement durable et le climat.

L’écart est actuellement gigantesque entre les objectifs recherchés (agenda transformatif, changement de modèle économique et social,…) et les solutions proposées (place accrue des grandes entreprises, règles internationales toujours définies par les pays les plus puissants,…) dans les documents préparatoires.

D’un côté, les pays riches (pour la plupart membres de l’OCDE) souhaitent faire appel massivement au secteur privé pour financer cet agenda par des incitations et un environnement favorable aux affaires et privilégient les espaces de décision restreints et contrôlés par eux-mêmes (OCDE, G20, institutions financières internationales,…) plutôt que les espaces plus inclusifs (ONU).

Ils refusent par exemple pour l’instant que les règles fiscales internationales puissent être discutées et décidées dans un cadre onusien, préférant l’OCDE dont sont exclus la majorité des pays. Ces derniers ne peuvent donc pas y faire valoir leurs besoins et leurs attentes pour pouvoir mobiliser correctement leurs propres ressources et lutter efficacement contre l’évasion fiscale. C’est aussi le cas des problèmes de dettes, enjeu actuellement traité par le Club de Paris qui ne regroupe que les pays créanciers.

De leur côté, les pays en développement (en général membres du G77 et Chine, soit 134 pays), soutenus en cela par les organisations de société civile demandent des mécanismes plus inclusifs dans des cadres onusiens en ce qui concerne la gouvernance économique et financière mondiale .

Certains de ces pays semblent trop conciliants pour attirer les investissements et/ou peu soucieux de mettre en place des mesures garantissant le respect des droits et de l’environnement. Or il convient de veiller à ce que les grandes entreprises, guidés par la recherche de profits élevés et rapides, soient contraintes de respecter les normes sociales, culturelles, environnementales et fiscales pour assurer une réelle contribution au développement durable.

De plus, on peut craindre que ces facilités accordées au secteur privé engendrent une financiarisation excessive de l’économie avec des conséquences effroyables pour des pays dont les systèmes de supervision bancaire restent fragiles. C’est à la finance de se mettre au service de la réalisation du bien commun et non l’inverse !

Les débats font en outre clairement apparaitre la volonté des pays riches de fondre le processus politique du Financement du Développement dans celui plus large de l’agenda Post 2015 pour le Développement Durable. Or cet espace politique centré sur le Financement du Développement est actuellement le seul au monde permettant de discuter de l’architecture économique et financière globale en regroupant l’ensemble des Etats de la planète et les parties prenantes (agences onusiennes et financières, secteur privé, société civile).

Reléguer ce processus politique au rang de sous partie de l’agenda Post 2015 revient à le faire disparaitre progressivement au profit des cadres très peu inclusifs que sont le G20, l’OCDE ou les IFIs (FMI et Banque Mondiale).

Caritas Internationalis attache une grande importance à la réussite de cette Conférence où les Etats doivent s’engager à financer le développement des pays pauvres et à mettre en place des règles internationales inclusives et équitables, permettant une allocation équitable des ressources et évitant que les activités débridées du secteur privé et des marchés spéculatifs aient des impacts négatifs sur les populations, notamment les plus vulnérables, et sur l’environnement.

 

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle

Président de Caritas Internationalis

Caritas Day “One Human Family, Food for All”

June 22, 2015

By Cecilia Agrinya-Owan

Expo Caritas Parade photo by Alberto Arciniega

Caritas Internationalis holds Caritas Day in Milan Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at the EXPO 2015 Milano to raise awareness and promote the importance of food security.

The “One Human Family, Food for All” campaign was launched on the 10th of December 2013 by the Holy father Pope Francis. The campaign aims to eradicate poverty by 2025 through creating awareness of this issue, empowering local farmers and improving their access to land to enable them grow their food and also engaging government at all levels to address issues of hunger by formulating and implementing policies that are pro-poor.

165 Caritas member countries gathered in Milan, Italy to discuss these issues and to share success stories on the support to the poor and vulnerable from around the world.

Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga, ex Caritas Internationalis President, who started the campaign, in his opening speech said “there is sufficient food in the world but we still need to remove the inequalities in the world for all to have access to food”.

He noted that the goal of the “One Human Family, Food for All” campaign is to eradicate hunger, promote the right to food and guarantee food security for everyone by 2025.

Cardinal Maradiaga stated that “805 million people in the world go on an empty stomach and do not know how to feed their families” and that we need to guarantee access to healthy food for all and share with one another out food and food proceeds “as everything which is shared is multiplied.

Similarly, incoming president of Caritas Internationalis Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle emphasized that “We are One Human Family united by hunger. It is not just about food but it is the same hunger that unites us”.

“We tell the world; do not be afraid of faith. Faith will not destroy humanity. Faith makes us closer to human beings. Faith makes us courageous to love and to serve. That is Caritas that is what we are celebrating. The power of love towards the most needy with no ambition, our only desire is to love because we believe,” said Cardinal Tagle.

Caritas Day was concluded with a plea by Caritas leaders urging everyone to do their bits in reaching out to their brothers and sisters in love while appealing to world leaders and the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, as priority to discuss during one of sessions of the UN meetings issues on access to food and the need to eradicate hunger in the world”.

In-coming President of Caritas Africa shares vision for the poor

June 22, 2015

By Cecilia Agrinya-Owan

Most. Rev. Gabriel Justice Yaw Anokye, Archbishop of Kumasi, Ghana, and second Vice President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) who is also in charge of Justice and Peace Commission. He is the newly elected President of Caritas Africa at the just concluded 8th Pan-African Conference, on Monday, May 11, 2015 at the ongoing Caritas General Assembly in Rome.

IMG_3228

Most. Rev. Gabriel Justice Yaw Anokye.

In this interview, he shares his vision of a Church for the Poor in Africa as Caritas and also the relationship between Caritas, Justice and Peace Commission.

 Q. What does the General Assembly mean for delegates from Africa?

A. Caritas Africa attends this 20th General Assembly in fidelity and in brotherliness as one family. This year as the theme tells us we all want to care for creation, we are one human family, one creation and every part of this family must come together to think of the whole.

We have also come to join our brothers and sisters from other Caritas member countries to form one big family, share success stories and challenges while learning from each other how to chart the way forward to achieve our mission and vision of serving the poor and caring for creation as Caritas.

Q. Looking at what the Pope says about a “Church for the Poor”, what does this mean in Africa?

A. The mission of Christ as announced by Himself in Isaiah Chapter 51 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, He has anointed me to bring the good news to the poor…” Similarly, in Christ’s sermon on the Mount; the first Beatitudes says “Blessed are the poor in spirit”.

So you can see that Him though rich in His divinity became poor (Philippians 2:6), in order to make us wealthy, divinized to share in His riches; this is the philosophy, theology, vision and indeed the mission of Christ; to raise the poor, to bring the lowly to a higher level, He didn’t come to save angels or raise again those who are already high up but to raise the poor, lowly, widows, orphans and strangers. These categories of people we call the poor are treated as the apples of His eyes and are kept very well by God Himself who hears the cry of the poor.

Therefore, Caritas which is issued out from the heart of the Church’s missionary and charity activities must also care for the poor. We do support the Pope as he reminds us of our duty to care for the poor. So for the Church to be able to serve the poor must be poor “a Poor Church” to be able to enter the ghettos, the sowetos, the zongos of our villages and hard-to-reach communities support the poor where they are as Caritas (Church).

Q. Going forward, looking at your role of being in charge of Justice and Peace Commission, how do you see Caritas and Justice Peace working together in member countries of the African Region, especially where there exist in parallel?

A. Before my election as President of Caritas Africa, I was and I still am the second Vice President the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM). As the second Vice President, I am in charge of Justice and Peace Commission, Good Governance, Advocacy and Lobbying (talking for and against), I’m also in-charge development, migration and health. All these areas concern the human being as the focus of our activities. As we speak for justices and advocate for human rights, we are doing the work of Caritas, the work of love. Because if I look for justice for others, advocate for peace, good governance, transparency and accountability from African leaders to ensure growth and development for the common man, I am showing love which means Caritas. Bringing food to the suffering, visiting those who are sick or in prison, being in solidarity with those affected by earthquake and other natural and man-made disasters, is the visible part of justice, peace and reconciliation.

Justice, peace, development and reconciliation are integrated into the work of Caritas. One is more visible and the other structural but the two go together.

Q. As the new President, what is your vision of Caritas Africa?

A. Let me start by referring you to what Jesus himself said in Matthew 7:15 “I came to fulfill not to abolish”. In line with this, whatever vision there is already for Caritas Africa is what I am going to fulfill and our vision is to “give life in abundance” (John 10:10), I am not going to change that vision to fulfill it by making sure it is owned by everybody, loved, cherished and implemented. I am going to talk about it, remind members of the African region (46). The mission to achieving this is surely to bring people to know it, talk about it more, form people and also commission people do precisely that. So I am going to align with the old vision of Caritas Africa and ensuring that we achieve our mission of reaching out in love to our brothers and sisters who are in need.


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