Patrick Gbessay Jamiru has been Director of CAFOD’s partner Caritas Kenema, for over thirteen years. Caritas Kenema is the development and relief office for the Catholic Diocese of Kenema in eastern Sierra Leone.
Patrick is visiting the UK in the run-up to Lent, to talk to CAFOD supporters about the work of Caritas in Kenema and how, with your donations, they can help poor families to earn a living now and in the future.
Jesus Christ is our model and so we take seriously into account all those values he set before us, which he himself had demonstrated. Among them is that of charity.
Charity, from the point of view of the Christian faith, is not just giving handouts from the surpluses we have, but it is the ability to share our life with those of our brothers and sisters who are less privileged and cannot stand on their own.
Those who find themselves in certain situations either by design or by accident need some intervention. For example, those struck down by sicknesses, natural disasters, or those whose societies have deprived them of their basic human rights.
Jesus said to his people that he was not there for the virtuous but for those who were of the lost house of Israel; that those who were well did not need a doctor but those who were sick. He was making reference to the reality our basic Christian principle wants us to pay attention to: that of care and concern for our brothers and sisters who are in dire need.
Some people may say we were all created by God with equal opportunities; therefore, for some it is due to laziness, or for some it is due to carelessness and so we must not care for others. But in my estimation, our focus must be on those realities that dehumanize our brothers and sisters; those realities which make us agents of our Lord and not judges of their unfortunate situations.
Every Christian is charged with the responsibility of imitating our Lord Jesus and help in his or her own way in the spread of the Gospel and the Gospel values. It can be education or support to those in hopeless situations.
The social teachings of the church can and should be lived out in diverse ways. The relief and development work of the CARITAS Kenema office in Eastern Sierra Leone helps mostly the poorest of the poor.
It is by sharing all of what life brings and helping people to live a full life demands, we are witnessing the charity of our Lord Jesus Christ.