Most Rev. Gabriel A. A. Mante, President of Caritas Ghana, lighting a candle to symbolise the official launch of the new body, prayed that the light would symbolise the recreation and serve as a reminder of the Church’s commitment to shed sunshine on the darkness in governance, ineptitude in public services and opacity in public policies.
The Bishop noted that with the launch, the Church was taking her achievement to another level by establishing legal and institutional framework for her service of charity.
By adopting the Caritas as a global and credible brand, the Ghana Bishops’ Conference has taken steps to protect the Caritas trade and service mark in Ghana, which is now a legally recognised organisation for the Catholic Church in Ghana.
The prelate, who is Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Jasikan, stated that the launch of Caritas Ghana, introduces significant changes in standard and quality of the social services that the Church has rendered to humanity over the years, in areas of health, education, livelihoods, relief and incomes.
Mr. Samuel Zan Akologo, Executive Secretary of Caritas Ghana, noted that the occasion was to “unveil the Catholic Church’s plans, structure and framework to respond more vigorously and zealously the challenges of Ghana’s development and public policy making, in the context of our faith conviction.”
He said by formalising its existence in Ghana, the Catholic Church signals to Government of Ghana and Development Partners, her readiness to domesticate and replicate the benefits of mutually rewarding partnership in the context of Ghana’s development needs.
According to the Executive Secretary and head of the Department of Human Development at the National Catholic Secretariat, the event was about partnership building and networking in the spirit of promoting effective development cooperation.
“This means the Church is adding and contributing to civil society activism in Ghana. It also means extending the opportunities and possibilities of existing cooperation for development to Ghana through Caritas,” he added.
Caritas Ghana, with the general theme and slogan: Good Works; Generosity, Sharing, has among other objectives the promotion of effective institutional structures and functioning of the church’s service of charity at National, Diocesan and Parish levels.
It will also promote the Catholic Church’s Socio-pastoral work as a means of expressing the Gospel message and the social doctrine of the Church to the world, and equally contribute to the enhancement of dignity of the human person; especially the poor and the marginalised. This will be attained through their direct empowerment and representation where they are excluded.
Caritas Ghana is also poised to consolidate the successes of the Catholic Church’s mission of charity and undertake social action research as a means to improve social-service delivery in the country.
In a welcome address, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Abbey-Quaye, Assistant Secretary General of the National Catholic Secretariat in Accra, explained that Caritas Ghana “will be a new and innovative way by which the Church in Ghana will carry out the mission of service to charity.”
He stated that the new body will help people appreciate the remarkable work done by the Church and those yet to be done in terms of provision of social services to address the needs of the poor.
The Chairperson of the launch, Barrister Elizabeth Anderson-Yebuah, expressed the hope that Caritas Ghana will continue to support the cause of development.
Very Rev. Nicholas Afriyie, Secretary General of the National Catholic Secretariat, and staff as well as representatives from Catholic Relief Service, STAR-Ghana, UNHCR, European Union and the Spokesperson of the National Chief Imam were in attendance.