June 14, 2024
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Caritas Nigeria at 13, advocates for youths, women empowerment

By PJ Usanga

As part of the ongoing activities commemorating the 13th anniversary celebration of Caritas Nigeria, the foundation through its Executive Secretary, Rev. Fr. Uche Obodoechina, has registered their resolve to ensure the socio-economic empowerment and development of the Nigerian youths and the women.

Fr. Uche who stated this in his welcome remark during an interface between Caritas Nigeria and the leadership of the youths and women groups in the church, on Wednesday 20 September at the Resource Center of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), emphasized that the 13th anniversary celebration is hinged on the responsibility of enhancing and strengthening their structures of service in the church, which include the youths and the women.

The Executive Secretary, who lamented that the church in Nigeria is handicapped in terms of providing employment for her teaming youths as compared to the churches in Europe and other parts of the world, disclosed that the Church through Caritas Nigeria, has decided to take this step to initiate a partnership by engaging the leadership of the various youths and women groups in the church to chart a course on how to better impact their socio-economic livelihood.

The National Youth Animator, CSN, Rev. Fr. Boniface Idoko while making his presentation titled: ‘Echoes from Pope Francis’s message at World Youth Day (WYD) Lisbon 2023’, intimated the youths that the Holy Father, Pope Francis, has invited them to shine, listen and be unafraid and that taking time to catechise on the theme “Mary Arose, and Went in Haste” LK1:35, that the Pope has charged them to set out in haste towards concrete encounters and genuine acceptance of those different from themeselves.

“In his word ‘Dear young people, now is the time to set out in haste towards concrete encounters, towards genuine acceptance of those different from ourselves. This was the case with the young Mary and the elderly Elizabeth. Only thus will we bridge distances – between generations, social classes, ethnic and other groups – and even put an end to wars. Young people always represent the hope for new unity within our fragmented and divided human family.’

“In a very apt wrap, he declared: ‘My message for you, dear young people, the great message entrusted to the Church, is Jesus! Yes, Jesus himself, in his infinite love for each of us, his salvation and the new life he has bestowed upon us. Mary is our model; she shows us how to welcome this immense gift into our lives, to share it with others, and thus to bring Christ, his compassionate love and his generous service to our deeply wounded humanity.’ With this, all was set and all roads led to Lisbon.”

While reiterating the Supreme Pontiff’s crusade for the protection of our environment, Fr. Idoko informed the youths, that the Pope had urged young people to combine fighting to save the planet with tackling poverty.

“In his words: ‘We must recognize the drastic and urgent need to care for our common home, yet this cannot be done without a real change of heart.’ He went further to stress, ‘Keep in mind that we need an integral ecology, attentive to the sufferings both of the planet and the poor.’ In a very drastic way, he passionately appealed to the young people, on the need to align the tragedy of desertification with that of refugees and the issue of increased migration with that of a declining birth rate,” he reiterated further.

The session which had in attendance, executives and members of the Young Catholic Students (YCS), National Association of Catholic Corpers (NACC), Catholic Youth Organization of Nigeria (CYON) and the Catholic Women Organization (CWO) also featured a parley between the various youths and women groups with the Executive Secretary of Caritas, which availed the attendees an opportunity to air out their views on how Caritas Nigeria can with work them and also make them more engaging and economically productive to themselves and the society.

The Caritas day celebration, which entered day-2 today, started with an opening Mass and visit to the correctional facility in Abuja, on Tuesday, 19 September, will round off with a Thanksgiving Mass on Friday, 22 September, 2023 at the St. Gabriel Chaplaincy, CSN, Abuja.

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