By Josef Ishu

The Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria (CCFN), also known as Caritas Nigeria, is set to celebrate its 10 years of existence on Friday, October 22, 2021 at the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), Durumi Abuja.

The events for the celebration will begin with a Holy Mass to be officiated by the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) and the Archbishop of Benin-City, Most Rev. Augustine Obiora Akubeze by 10am at St. Gabriel’s Chapel, CSN.

The Catholic Archbishop of Kaduna, Most Rev. Matthew Man’Oso Ndagoso, who is also the Chairman of Caritas Nigeria Board will deliver homily during the Mass.

Also expected to co-celebrate at the Mass is the Archbishop Emeritus of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, the CBCN Vice President and Bishop of Umuahia, Most Rev. Lucuis Iwejuru Ugorji, the Archbishop of Abuja, Most Rev. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, other bishops, as well as the Secretary General of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Very Rev. Fr. Zacharia Nyatiso Samjumi and host of other priests.

According to the Executive Secretary and CEO of Caritas Nigeria, Very Rev. Fr. Uche Obodoechina, there will be raffle draw immediately after the Mass, while Fundraising and Dinner will hold at the CSN Resource Centre by 6pm with the theme: “Empowering Communities to Eradicate Poverty”.

Fr. Obodoechina also disclosed that the CSN Secretary General, Fr. Zacharia Samjumi, the representatives of Caritas Nigeria funders, CDC, UNHCR, as well as representatives of Caritas Africa, Catholic Relief Services, Federal Ministry of Health, NACA and the Pioneer Executive Secretary of Caritas Nigeria, Rev. Fr. Evaristus Bassey will deliver goodwill messages.

The Minister for Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Talen will chair the event, while Prof. Pat Utomi of Lagos Business School will deliver Keynote Address on the topic: “Deus Caritas Est, Human Solidarity and the Curse of Niemoller”.

There will also be award presentations to some partners and funders of Caritas Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the Secretary General of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Very Rev. Fr. Zacharia Nyantiso Samjumi has congratulated Caritas Nigeria on its 10th year anniversary, saying the organization has achieved so much within the period of its establishment and can now recon with top nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Nigeria. Fr. Samjumi also thanked Catholic Relief Service (CRS) for being a wonderful partner in the charity mission of the Church.

Caritas Nigeria is the official relief and development arm of the CBCN and since its formal registration in 2010, it has successfully implemented several development interventions supported by diverse stakeholders ranging from governments, United Nations agencies, Caritas Confederation members, philanthropists, international aid agencies, and other faith-based organisations.

Since its formal registration, Caritas Nigeria has reached millions of direct beneficiaries from interventions on its priority areas, such as Emergency Response & Humanitarian Services (reaching internally displaced persons and refugees); Health & HIV/AIDS interventions –including support to orphans and vulnerable children; Agriculture & Livelihoods support to vulnerable households (Food Security); Good Governance programs – on election observations, budget monitoring and citizens’ education; Institutional Capacity Strengthening; Anti-Human Trafficking and Forced Migration – including services to returnees; widows, unemployed youths, amongst others in hard-to-reach communities across Nigeria and overseas in solidarity and Institutional Development & Capacity Strengthening (ICS).