About us

We're a Commission for the Promotion of Integral Human Development in the Catholic Archdiocese of Kisumu

Caritas, in general, is the social concern of the Catholic Church. To begin with, the Church is situated right within the society. She has both the responsibility and innate right to participate with other stakeholders to develop and improve the society. There are so many issues that affect the human society: sometimes there are issues of injustice, sometimes there is no peace, sometimes there is need for reconciliation, sometimes disaster strikes and causes a humanitarian crisis, sometimes there is food insecurity, sometimes there is lack of water, causing lack of sanitation, and sometimes effects of climate change bite very hard on the society. In the case of the Church, the love of Christ urges us (caritas Christi urget nos) to respond to all these.

The Church responds to these social issues in a very organized manner. It all began with one man, Fr Lorenz Werthmann who formed a Catholic aid and relief organization in Freiburg, Germany in 1895, and he called it Charitas Comité. The word Caritas is the Latin version of the word “Charity.”

In the Catholic Archdiocese of Kisumu, we express the diocesan concern over the issues that affect the people under our jurisdiction. We are found in each of our 61 parishes spanning the two counties of Kisumu and Siaya.  As an Archdiocese, we work individually but collectively with other Caritas organizations of the other dioceses in Kenya, all under the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), and we are part of an international confederation of similar ecclesiastical organizations known as Caritas Internationalis, headquartered in Rome.

“A Church without charity [caritas] does not exist”, says Pope Francis. We share in the mission of the Church. We are an ordered service to the community. We are inspired by Gospel values and the Catholic Social Teachings!

The history of KCCB-CJPC cannot be complete without the mention of this old priest of the Archdiocese of Kisumu, a priest for 53 years at the time of writing this. In 1990, Fr John Kwanga Mak'Opiyo was called over to the then Episcopal Conference of Kenya Secretariat in Nairobi to open a separate office of Justice and Peace. The issues in the country were very many, touching on injustice and jeopardizing peace! Although according to Pope Paul VI, development is the new name for peace, and there cannot be peace without justice, there was need to have a separate Justice and Peace Commission. Fr John Mak'Opiyo was the man chosen to help the Conference of Kenyan Bishops to do this. We owe a lot to him. His sharp clear memory is a resource worth handling with admiration.

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