The Malta Independent 12 December 2018, Wednesday

Caritas: Celebrating 50 years on the side of people in need

Monday, 12 November 2018, 09:12 Last update: about 29 days ago

The Non-Profit Organisation Caritas celebrates 50 years of being on the side of people who are in need. It was Archbishop Mikiel Gonzi and Bishop Nikol Cauchi who began the first National Council of Caritas on the island on November 11th 1968.

At a conference commemorating the 50 year anniversary, the director of the Malta Caritas Foundation, Anthony Gatt goes on to explain the history and development of Caritas. An international organisation, Caritas has over 160 Caritas federations around the world, which is divided into seven regions, and Caritas Malta falls under the European region, alongside another 46 represented countries.

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Gatt reflected that in the past 50 years numerous individuals and volunteers have given so much of their time and dedication to make all that the organisation has achieved. He goes on to say that Caritas is not only for the people but is a result of people coming together to bring about social justice.

The ‘wounds’ of society

The director of Caritas Malta reflected how the Church of Malta always drives its attention to the vulnerable of society. He said that within Maltese society there are many who are unaware of those who are suffering mentally, physically and spiritually on a daily basis.

The reality for Caritas is that many come searching for help and support, yet Gatt notes there is a big gap between the rich and the poor in Malta. He also said that there have been a low number of youths who are willing to take up social welfare careers; which brings up the issue whether compassion values amongst Maltese are under threat.

Gatt (below) also pointed out in the conference that Caritas is concerned regarding the legalisation of cannabis not just for medicinal practice.  Whilst he agreed that prevention is better than cure, Gatt said that the legalisation of cannabis will only make it more popular amongst adolescents.

Another damage noticed within Maltese society is the rise of divorce and separation amongst couples apart of the lack of respect towards marriage ties. Gatt noted that there is a lack of respect towards one another, such as lack of respect shown towards elders and also to the environment.

He said Caritas is worried about the rise in alienation and solitude, that when there is a lack of community, a person is more likely to suffer. That is why Caritas Malta and the Faculty of Social Well-Being have collaborated in a campaign on loneliness.

Gatt ended the conference by stating that it is everyone’s responsibility to work towards healing the wounds of society, and the authorities must help push the civilians to do their part. 

50 years of Caritas: new logo and re-branding of website

The modernising of the Caritas Mata logo is also part of the commemorating of the 50 years of Caritas. The revamped logo is the Flaming Cross, which symbolises the love of Christ. The definition of Caritas is the Christian love of humankind, reflecting on compassion and charity for others.

Apart from the logo, the Caritas Malta website (www.caritasmalta.org) was also re-launched and information regarding activities and services was updated. Gatt stressed on the importance of the website, as many are able to seek help through the online portal.

To celebrate the anniversary, for 50 weeks Caritas Malta will also be posting weekly videos labelled as “#Caritasin50ways”, promoting means of compassion and kindness.

As done in previous years, this one being the fourth consecutive year, Caritas will also be hosting a Christmas lunch on 25th December for those who unfortunately have no one to spend the day with. The meal will be taking place at Archbishop’s Curia.

 

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