By Charles Igwe
In 2010, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) established Caritas Nigeria, an altruistic organization driven by the principle of “Caritas,” which means love and charity in Latin. This non-profit entity was conceived to address the fundamental needs of people, transcending faith, nationality, and ethnicity.
For the past 13 years, Caritas Nigeria has been steadfastly working to coordinate the Catholic Church’s social development initiatives on a national scale. Its mission is to bring the fullness of life to everyone in its reach, ensuring happiness and fulfillment for all.
Fr. Peter Babangida Audu, the Deputy Executive Secretary of Caritas Nigeria, shared his insights into the organization’s remarkable journey as it celebrates its 13th anniversary. While acknowledging that 13 years might seem relatively short compared to established entities like Caritas Internationalis, Fr. Babangida emphasized the profound impact they’ve had on people’s lives during this time.
Caritas Nigeria’s mission centers on enhancing the quality of life for individuals in their environment. They operate with a deep sense of love, passion, and teamwork, implementing projects that make a tangible difference. Over these 13 years, Caritas Nigeria has become a key player in development and humanitarian interventions.
The anniversary celebrations kicked off with an opening Mass presided over by Msgr. Pierre Cibambo, the President of Caritas Africa, who is visiting Nigeria for the Caritas Africa Commission’s meeting. The activities extend to providing assistance to prisoners, offering medical aid to residents of Abuja, empowering women and youth, and hosting an international conference focusing on Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato si’, which emphasizes caring for the environment.
Caritas Nigeria is committed to raising environmental awareness, specifically addressing plastic recycling and tree planting, in alignment with the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria’s recommendations in February 2023. The anniversary celebrations will conclude with a Thanksgiving Mass and a gallery walk showcasing the organization’s impactful work.
Through its various thematic areas, including health and HIV, good governance, humanitarian relief, emergency response, livelihood, and agriculture, Caritas Nigeria has achieved substantial milestones. As they commemorate 13 years of service, they remain dedicated to their mission of spreading love, compassion, and support to those in need.
In this short period, Caritas Nigeria has made a significant mark, symbolizing the power of love and charity in transforming lives.