Caritas South Africa


Caritas means love. The Latin term for charity, caritas, implies an act of giving by people out of the goodness of their hearts. Charity is ‘the soul’ of the Church’s mission. Charity is the main path of the Church’s Social Doctrine. It is the ‘principal driving
force behind the authentic development of every person and of all humanity’. (Pope Benedict XVI).

Caritas South Africa is the official organization of the Catholic Church, created to carry out all social activities of the Church. It receives its mandate from the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC). Caritas South Africa forms part of the Department for Catholic Social Action and it is en-trusted with the task of coordination and implementation of various Caritas activities in the different Dioceses of the South Africa.

Vision and Mission

Based on these guiding principles and the conviction to be with the poor, Caritas South Africa will strive to achieve this Vision.
Based on the Gospel values and Catholic Social Teaching, Caritas South Africa advocates peace and reconciliation, fighting all forms of poverty and discrimination, and empowering people to live with dignity.


In order to achieve this Vision, Caritas South Africa works in line with the following Mission:

  • To be committed to serve the human person in love and dignity
  • To be in solidarity with the poor, Caritas South Africa will witness for justice and peace in the nation
  • To have a strong commitment in promoting integration, social cohesion and mutual respect
  • To take care of creation and environment

Whoever lives the mission of Caritas is not simple charitable worker, but is a true witness of Christ. He is a person who seeks Christ and allows Christ to seek him; people who love with the spirit of Christ, a spirit of gratuitousness and gift. All of our strategies and plans remain empty unless we carry this love in us. Not our love, but His. Or better yet: our love, purified and strengthened by His love. (Pope Francis)

Programs of Caritas

Caritas South Africa focusses on key areas in the long term development philosophy and works without regard to creed, race, gender or ethnicity. It provides a beacon of hope women, men and children in times of hardship and contributes to the development of social justice in times of peace.

Caritas South Africa’s mandate includes integral development, emergency relief, advocacy, peace building, respect for  human rights and support for proper stewardship of the planet’s environment and resources.

Within the limits and constraints imposed by human, material and financial resources at its disposal, Caritas South Africa aims to run humanitarian and socio-developmental programs in the following fields:

  • Emergency relief and disaster preparedness and management
  • Skills training programs
  • Social and integral development of people
  • Environment and creation
  • Advocacy and peace building

Guiding Principles

Caritas South Africa approach is based on the Catholic Social Teaching, which focuses on the dignity of the human person. Caritas South Africa work on behalf of the poor manifests God’s love for all creation. Caritas South Africa believes that the weak and oppressed are not objects of pity, but agents of change, leading the struggle to eradicate dehumanizing poverty, unacceptable living and working conditions, and unjust social, political, economic and cultural structures.

Dignity of the human person
The dignity of the human person is the foundation of moral values. Caritas South Africa rejects the discrimination and abuse of the poor and vulnerable, and seek to make them not objects of human pity but subjects of their own development and agents of change. In this way, Caritas South Africa makes God’s love for creation manifest in the world.

Option for the poor
Caritas South Africa commits itself to combat poverty, which deprives people of their dignity and humanity, and to promote the rights of the poor. Caritas South Africa commits itself to restoring their sense of co-responsibility in building a better world.

Social justice
Any economic, social, political or cultural structure which opposes or oppresses and prevents change towards justice is sinful. Caritas South Africa seeks to encourage its membership to redress the balance by working to transform these structures into holistic social structures which favour the poor.

Caritas South Africa seeks to inculcate in its membership and its dealings with other non-governmental organizations and global institutions a genuine sense of solidarity.

Stewardship on creation and environment
Caritas South Africa commits itself to being in solidarity not only with people but with the whole of creation and therefore seeks to act in an environmentally sustainable way at all times.

Prayer of Caritas

God, Our Father, who is all Power and Goodness, give strength to those who go through tribulations; give light to those who seek the Truth, and fill the human heart with compassion and Charity.

God! Give the guiding star to the traveler, consolation to the afflicted, and rest to the sick. Father! Give repentance to the guilty. Give truth to the Spirit, guidance to the child, a father to the orphan.

Lord! May Your Goodness extend over everything that You have created. Mercy, Lord, to those who do not know You and hope to those who suffer. May Your Goodness allow the consoling spirits to spread Peace, Hope, and Faith everywhere!

Oh! God! A ray, a spark of Your Love can illuminate the earth. Let us drink from the fountains of this abundant and infinite Goodness. All tears will be dried and all pain will be lessened. A single heart, a single thought will rise to You, as a cry of gratitude and Love. Like Moses on the mountain, we wait for You with open arms, Oh! Goodness, oh! Beauty, oh! Perfection! We wish in some way to deserve Your mercy.

God! Give us strength, help our progress so we may rise up to You; give us pure charity and humbleness; give us faith and reason; give us the simplicity, Father, that will make our souls the mirror that will reflect Your Divine Image.

This prayer was psycho graphed on Christmas Night, December 25, 1873, by Madame W. Krell in Bordeaux (France), dictated by the Spirit called Charitas and published in Rayonnements de la Vie Spirituelle.


“Charity is at the heart of the Church, it is the reason for its action, the soul of its mission.” (Pope Francis)


Postal Address:
P.O. Box 941
Physical Address:
129 Main Street, Waterkloof – Pretoria, 0001, South Africa
Tel: +27 12 323 6458

Caritas South Africa Director: Bishop Stan Dziuba, OSPPE.
Coordinating Secretary: Sr Maria Rissini, MSCS.


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