“Caritas is part of the Church’s mission, the mission of love. It is not right for Caritas to be taken as an NGO.”
This was stated by the Archbishop of the Dar es Salaam Archdiocese, Most Rev. Jude Thaddeaus Ruwai’chi OFM Cap who is Chairman of Caritas Tanzania while opening Caritas Tanzania General Meeting which included its directors from all dioceses and national level.
The meeting was held at the Tanzania Episcopal Conference’s (TEC) Kurasini Centre in Dar es Salaam.
Among other things, Archbishop Ruwai’chi stressed that every member must know the meaning of Caritas and contribute towards helping it to fulfilling mission in the dioceses as well as at national level.
He said ‘Caritas’ which literary means ‘love’, has its own meaning which is the main goal of the Church, that is to provide services to the needy especially the poor and to provide answers to questions caused by various disasters.
Transforming Caritas into a non-governmental organization (NGO) is to enter into an unsatisfactory world, which contradicts the vision and goals of the Church.
He also called on directors to strategize on how to respond to the questions of disasters and poverty in the community.
“A few months ago, Covid19 shook the world and even our nation. The reality is that we need to encourage people to adhere to health guidelines, those recommended by experts, so that we do not become infected. Covid-19 has led to extreme poverty and anxiety. It has made people unstable, lacking in vision, it makes people miserable,” he said.
Let’s ask ourselves, when Covid-19 emerged in our dioceses, what answers did we give? How much were we involve? How much were we responsible? Since caritas has unique mission of compassion and love, we must realize that, when a tragedy arises we must seek answers in time, ”he stressed.
He also called for Caritas not to be a disaster survivor, but to find ways to cope with the crisis even under the most extreme circumstances.
He urged the delegates to set out a strategic plan that will allow their performance for the following year.
“Plan carefully with the scope that satisfies the presence of the church through caritas,” he said.
He thanked Catholic Relief Service (CRS) who have partnered with Caritas Tanzania to facilitate the annual general meeting.
Earlier welcoming the delegates to the Caritas General Assembly, the Deputy Secretary General of the Tanzania Episcopal Conference Rev Father Daniel Dulle urged Caritas to put in place sustainable strategies to help the poor.
“Do not be part of the NGO culture which is to be happy about the poverty of other people but rather provide sustainable assistance that will free the poor from poverty.
Caritas should not do its job as competitively as NGOs do. The implementation of its responsibilities must be in line with the Church’s mission to serve the person physically and spiritually and especially the issue of peace building, humanitarian assistance to victims of various disasters and problems, ”he stressed.
Closing the meeting, Archbishop Ruwai’chi called on every baptized Catholic to understand the meaning and ownership of Caritas arguing that that there is a need for every baptized person to understand the meaning of Caritas.
“Do you know what Caritas is, where it is and how it benefits them? Because people look at Caritas as a disaster management tool, a tool for writing projects to raise donor money to help the poor. But as a Church, over the age of 150 it must recognize the existence of opportunities and responsibilities before us. We must build an understanding of Caritas that every baptized person has a responsibility to help. Even a poor he has something to help others through Caritas. If we achieve this we will make a productive mission,” he insisted.
Most Rev. Ruwai’chi He insisted on Caritas Tanzania to plan and develop productive strategies which focus on productive performance.