Your Excellencies, My Lord Bishop(s) (and Archbishop(s), Your Excellencies, Honourable Members of Ghana’s august Parliament here present, Distinguished Invited Guests, Representatives of Catholic Networks, Societies and Associations, Representatives of the Christian Council, the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission and the Office of the Chief Imam, Rev. Frs. and Sisters, colleague staff members of NCS, Men and women of the Media, all protocol observed, dear Brothers and Sisters,
We are gathered here this morning for the official launch of Caritas – Ghana, working under the NCS Department of Human Development of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference. I am pleased to be invited to welcome all of you to this ceremony. You have travelled from far and near to share the joy of this day with us and we are most grateful to you all for your presence with us this morning.
Brief Overview of Caritas
Mr. Chairman, My Lord Bishops and Distinguished Invited Guests, the Church’s nature is expressed in her threefold responsibility of proclaiming the word of God, celebrating the sacraments and exercising the ministry of charity (diakonia). According to Deus Caritas Est, “These duties presuppose each other and are inseparable” (Deus Caritas Est, 25). The service of charity therefore is an important constitutive element of the Church’s mission. The Church is therefore called to the exercise of charity at all levels, namely, in small communities and on the national and international levels.
Over the years, the Church universal as well as the Local Church has earned the respect, love and admiration of her faithful and many people around the world because of her generous and consistent witness of faith and the ability of the Church to respond concretely to the needs of the poor and the marginalized. In Ghana, for example, the service to charity has seen the Church contribute immensely to the socio-economic development of the nation through the building of many hospitals and clinics, schools, orphanages and other such facilities. The fruits of these interventions are there for all to see. Nevertheless, most of these good works of the Church have not been properly documented and consistently pursued. Caritas –Ghana therefore will be a vehicle through which the Church in Ghana under the auspices of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference will work closely with Caritas International, Caritas Africa and Governments and non-Governmental Agencies as well as the faithful people of God to bring real change to the people we are called to serve. By so doing, the Church hopes to assist in the integral development of all peoples.
During his visit to Ouida, Benin in November 2011, Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, called on all Bishops’ Conferences to help build up society in cooperation with government authorities and public and private institutions that are engaged in building up the common good. For the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, the establishment of Caritas-Ghana will be the response of the Church in Ghana to this call of our retired Holy Father.
What Caritas-Ghana will do
Bishop in the Chair, Caritas-Ghana will be a new and innovative way through which the Church in Ghana will carry out the mission of service to charity. It will help people to appreciate the remarkable work done and yet to be done by the Church in terms of the provision of social services in addressing the needs of the poor; Caritas-Ghana and the National Justice and Peace Commission will collaborate to help the Church make the best possible use of the human material and spiritual resources available to us. In doing all of this, we will be inspired by the Gospel values, Catholic Social Teaching, the primacy of the common good, respect for human dignity, the option for the poor and the needy.
Conscious of the fact that Church does not have the technical solutions to offer and more so does not claim the right to interfere in any way in the politics of the State, we will collaborate with Governments to ensure that the mission of the Church in service to charity leads to the integral development of all persons. The Church has a public role to play in collaboration with the State because, “The whole Church in all her being and acting – when she proclaims, when she celebrates, when she performs acts of charity – is engaged in promoting integral human development,” a task which is the rightful duty of elected authorities. We are hopeful that Caritas-Ghana will succeed in its mission.
Words of Welcome
On this note, My Lord Bishops and Cherished Invited Guests, I wish on behalf of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference and the National Catholic Secretariat, to welcome all of you to this morning’s launching ceremony. Thank you all for coming and God bless us all.
Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Abbey-Quaye
Given at the Launch of Caritas-Ghana
International Press Center, Accra
2 June, 2016.