Caritas Day Celebration Marsabit Diocese

About day Over the years, Caritas Marsabit (formerly Catholic Diocese of Marsabit development office) has been extending charity work to those in need in various ways. Many lives have been saved and restored back in a dignified manner. This is what “CARITAS” means to us. In order for the Church to extend and express love, mercy and compassion through an act of “Charity”, the Bishops of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, established a “Caritas Day” to be a day in which all Christians and people of good will have an opportunity to participate in expressing their love through serving and supporting their neighbor who is in need.   This was an opportunity to sensate people on who caritas is and what we do. The Caritas Day is set to be celebrated each year on 1st Sunday of September (On the International Day of Charity). The 1st week of September will be ‘’Caritas Week’’ with build-up activities all culminating to the 1st  Sunday of September. During this day, all of us are called to witness God’s love through the people around us by exercising charity and giving what God has given us, to those who are more vulnerable and in most need of our help.   Celebration This year’s caritas day celebration was unique in Diocese of Marsabit. To commemorate the day and in solidarity with Caritas around the world Caritas Marsabit mobilised all the 13 parishes to do a second collection during the celebration Sunday. The sensitization on caritas day was done through Radio Jangwani and visits by Caritas staff to the parishes and dissemination during the Sunday mass. It was a call upon each Christian community to act in solidarity and compassion in the face of human suffering. Caritas Marsabit also published brochures with key activities of Caritas work within the diocese and calling Christian community and philanthropists to support charity through kind contribution. In planning the dissemination, caritas staff divided themselves according to zones owing to vastness of diocese. For three weeks before the material day, the staff went out to various parishes and on Sundays, took time to disseminate about the understanding of Caritas and sensitize on the second collection The response from the community was overwhelming. There is a potential for a paradigm shift in the minds of the catholic community whereby the church that was supporting them literary for all the social and spiritual needs now needs to be supported. This is evident in how the catholic community praised the move and showed their support by massively contributing for the cause. Being the first time the day was celebrated, there was great anticipation that the support will continue to grow and people outside the church will also be targeted in a massive campaign.   Contribution A total of KES 243,980.00 was raised together with the contribution of Caritas Marsabit staff who all contributed 10% of the gross salary for one month. The funds collected will help Caritas Marsabit to respond to emergency situations through relief efforts in assisting the affected communities through provision of urgent basic needs such as food, water, shelter and many more. This contribution is supposed to be the first line of help before external funds could be sourced. This is so because most international donors take time before sending funds for relief victims and in most cases the help arrives very late. Thus this move is aimed at saving lives within our diocese and ensures that the people affected retain their dignity throughout the time of difficulty. Deliberation is also on going to see if the funds could be used to do a specific project that will touch the lives of the most vulnerable group of the community in a special way and the evidence of which could be show-cased in the subsequent Caritas day celebrations. We would like to thank all the people who supported us throughout the campaign both in kind and in spirit, in words and in actions, in prayer and in encouragement that enabled us to make the day a success. It is our prayers that a concerted effort will be engaged in exploiting the possibility that the catholic community of Marsabit is ready and can support its church. We would therefore make a rallying call to the church leaders and professionals within and without the diocese to view this transformative change manifesting itself as an opportunity to work towards a sustainability strategy. By James Kunni and Isacko Jirma]]>

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