The Archbishop of Abuja Catholic Diocese, Most Rev Ignatius Kaigama, recently donated a piece of land in Plateau State to the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP), a charitable organisation in the Catholic Church. He made the donation during a courtesy visit by the executive and council members of the society led by the national president, Kim Emmanuel and national secretary, Victor Eze. They were in Jos for the thanksgiving mass for Sir Clement Bankat, the society’s first national vice president and a working visit to the Jos Metropolitan Province.
The visit was also aimed at strengthening existing structures, appraising the efforts being made in the society’s charity apostolate, showing appreciation to benefactors and creating better bonding with the Church hierarchy.
Administrator of Jos Metro Council, Very Rev Paul Dung Pam, said the purpose of Christian organsiations is not just to preach the gospel, but to help the poor, needy and vulnerable which, is what SSVP has been doing round the world for many decades. He then promised to continue his support to the society.
Kaigama said the society “is a good example of the importance of the church and the role it plays in the society.” Noting that Pope Francis declared 2019 a year for the poor, he appealed for more actions from both government and the society to help in alleviating poverty in the country. He thanked the new first national vice president of the society for all he has done towards the growth of the archdiocese and the new Divine Mercy Cathedral under construction. He then donated about half acre of land to the society.
The national president thanked Kaigama for his support towards the mission of the SSVP and his dedication to the work of God. He told the archbishop the society needed a befitting secretariat to enable it function more effectively in carrying out its vision of helping the poor and asked for his support and the archbishop promised to help create more awareness of for the society but urged the leadership to help rebrand it to be better known and appreciated.
The national executive immediately handed over the land to the Jos Metropolitan Council to be used to build a regional office, a skill acquisition center and for farming.
The delegation then visited St Michael the Archangel parish led by Rev. Stephen Chukwu which hosted a internally displaced people during the last ethnic and religious crisis before leaving for Pankshin diocese. On arrival, the Catholic Bishop of Pankshin, Most Rev Michael Gokun, hosted the delegation to a dinner and applauded the society for being the charitable arm of the Church.
A thanksgiving mass was held for Sir Clement Bankat, the Society’s first national vice president with the Bishop Gokun and Bishop Philip Dung of Shendam in attendance. The Vicar General of Pankshin Diocese, Very Rev Paul Watpe gave a vote of the thanks. He reminded the congregation of life after death and encouraged all to live a life that pleases God. He applauded the SSVP, saying it is a unique organisation as members can’t partake in anything they generate because they are meant for the needy. He then asked for prayers for the new VP from the North as he has a lot to do during his tenure.
Society of St Vincent de Paul is a registered charitable organisation present in 1030 Catholic parishes in all nine provinces of Nigeria.