Malaysia joins the Caritas family to help the poor

Caritas, which means “love”, is a faithbased organisation. Its specific mission is to attend to the poorest and the neediest by assisting in humanitarian emergencies.

Nov 21, 2020

By Gwen Manickam
Caritas Malaysia’s virtual launch and inaugural National Assembly was held via Zoom on Nov 6 and 13. The two-part session saw some 100plus attendees on each day.

Caritas, which means “love”, is a faithbased organisation. Its specific mission is to attend to the poorest and the neediest by assisting in humanitarian emergencies. It does this by helping to spread charity and justice in the world in the light of the Gospel and of the teaching of the Catholic Church (CI Statutes, art.1.3).

The foundation for the Malaysian chapter kicked off during the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia-Singapore-Brunei in July 2019. The Bishops met with Caritas staff from the Vatican and Asia for a dialogue. Six months later, at the next Bishops’ Conference (January 2020), they unanimously agreed to establish Caritas Malaysia as an overarching body for all organisations involved in charity and development work. Bishop Bernard Paul was appointed as Chair of Caritas Malaysia, and Charles Bertille as Executive Secretary and head of the National office, located at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Centre in Kuala Lumpur. This is the first such project involving all nine Malaysian Arch/Dioceses.

Caritas Malaysia is an integral part of Caritas Asia and Caritas Internationalis.

“As a member of our Confederation, I encourage Caritas Malaysia to take advantage of this opportunity — reach out and spread your wings within Malaysia, and through Asia and the world!”, said Asia Regional President (Caritas Asia) Dr Benedict Alo D’Rozario

“Along with our heartfelt congratulations, I also give you our assurance of Caritas Asia’s unwavering commitment to even  further strengthen our solidarity and fraternity with Caritas Malaysia, along with the other Member Organisations in our region. We assure you of our dedication to journey with you, despite the intense challenges being hurled against us by the pandemic. We are with you towards attaining a holistic human development, with a preferential option for the poor and vulnerable,” he added.

Caritas Malaysia President, Bishop Bernard Paul, then signed the Caritas Malaysia plaque to mark the launching of the official organ of the Malaysian Catholic Church for the promotion of its social mission. Others attendees included Regional Co ordinator Caritas Asia Zar Gomez, President of Caritas Malaysia Bishop Bernard Paul of the Malacca-Johor Diocese, and Caritas Malaysia Executive Secretary Charles Bertille and team.

Also present were Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, Most Rev Julian Leow, Bishop of Penang Most Rev Dato Sebastian Francis, Archbishop of Kuching, Most Rev Simon Poh and other representatives from the nine dioceses of Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak, including priests, sisters, religious and laypeople.


Caritas Asia, whose regional secretariat is situated in Bangkok, Thailand, currently has 25 Caritas member organisations in 24 countries in the region.

The Caritas Confederation, which operates its General Secretariat in Palazzo San Callisto in the Vatican, oversees seven regional offices in Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, North America, Oceania and Asia. It supervises 160 national Catholic relief, development and social service agencies working in over 200 countries and territories worldwide.

Asia Regional President (Caritas Asia) Dr Benedict Alo D’Rozario said, “We are one human family, living in one common home. Collectively and individually, our mission is to work to build a better and more just world for everyone. We believe in dignity, solidarity and stewardship on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable people, especially the poor and oppressed. “As a confederation, we usually pool and share rich resources among our member organisations. The talents and expertise within Caritas are not just enjoyed by one national Caritas organisation, but shared with other Caritas organisations through peer exchanges, cross-learning, international, regional or national training courses, workshops, and many others.”

This large confederation has a wide array of internal human and capital resources — and its diverse members give it its strength. The organisation finds resources from small groups of volunteers to some of the biggest global charities in the world manned by a huge number of Caritas staff and officers.

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