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A local staff member showing visiting delegates the beauty of Rwanda on the 50th anniversary of Caritas Rwanda. Credits: Jacques Dinan, Caritas Africa

A local staff member showing visiting delegates the beauty of Rwanda on the 50th anniversary of Caritas Rwanda. Credits: Jacques Dinan, Caritas Africa

The strength and history of the Caritas confederation shone strongly in 2010 with several members celebrating significant anniversaries.

Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) reached its 100th year, and marked its centenary by showing that it was not slowing down in its determination to rid the world’s richest country of desperate poverty. CCUSA published three books about poverty in America to mark its 1910 foundation “to bring about a sense of solidarity” among those in charitable ministries. It awarded Caritas Internationalis a Centennial medal, which proudly hangs in the General Secretariat in Rome.

Caritas Peru celebrated its 55th birthday in 2010, a year in which it assisted more than 600,000 Peruvians. Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Lesley-Anne Knight said, “Whether through its support in emergencies, its investment in reconstruction or its commitment to accompanying communities in their journey towards development, Caritas Peru shows that it is a valuable member of the Caritas confederation.”

Lesley-Anne Knight was able to join Caritas Rwanda in marking its half-century in October. She praised its work in promoting reconciliation and reconstruction in a country that had suffered so much.

In Asia, there were two anniversaries. Caritas Pakistan turned 45 as its members battled the effects of the worst floods in decades. No strangers to being tested by crisis, Caritas Pakistan delivered emergency relief to refugees from the war between India and Pakistan in 1965, the year of its birth.

In July in Phnom Penh, Caritas Cambodia officially became 20 years old. Caritas Cambodia actually has a longer history. It was first affiliated to the confederation in 1972, but had to cease operations three years later when the Khmer Rouge came to power.

And one of the confederation’s younger members, Caritas Armenia, celebrated its 15th birthday. A local staff member showing visiting delegates the beauty of Rwanda on the 50th anniversary of Caritas Rwanda. Jacques Dinan, Caritas Africa