Fr. TI’s Bio Rev. Fr. Dr. Theophilus Itaman (Fr. TI) is a Catholic Priest of…
At creation, what God created was good. Hence, God looked at creation and said it was very good. However, that goodness has been debased by violence, poverty, injustice, and ignorance, name it. Consequently, there is a need to make the world a better place to live. Today, there are different bodies working across the globe, making frantic efforts to make the world a better place, and Justice Development and Peace/Caritas (JDPC) organization is one of such bodies. JDPC is a faith–based organization under the Catholic Church. Specifically, JDPC operates under the department of Church and Society in the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN). The commission has a Director as the head who reports to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN). JDPC operates nationwide through an organized network of nine Provincial offices and Diocesan offices. The commission witnesses to the gospel of Jesus Christ, inspired by Christian Charity and the social teaching of the Catholic Church. Consequently, the activities of JDPC center on education and promotion of the dignity of the human person, love of neighbours, justice and peace, peaceful co-existence, neighbourliness, the attainment of human needs, promotion of civic responsibilities, and reconciliation between persons, communities, and states.
In creating a better society, JDPC organizes workshops and trains people on how to respect the dignity of the human person. It maintains that you must love yourself and build your life with good moral values. This is necessary because nobody gives what he or she has not. Put differently, you do not give what you do not have. You need to ask yourself: what are my moral values? How do I treat myself? Do I have self-respect? Do I have a self-image? JDPC advocates that effort must be made to love oneself, believe in oneself, and build a strong moral foundation and good image for oneself. With a better person created, you can positively contribute to building a good family life and positively impact society at large.
In addition, as part of the JDPC enlightenment campaign, it organizes seminars and conferences on family life from one community to another to entrench values in the family life. They do this with the conviction that when you get the family right, you get the society right. This is so because the family is a ‘micro society.’ Good families are the foundation of a better society. If you can create a good family mirrored after the Holy Family of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus of Nazareth, you will create a better society and the world. Therefore, JDPC stresses building families where people live together in love, unity, and peace. A loving family where each considers the good and well-being of others must be our focus. It means you must see the family as a school where you teach values and raise children in fear of God. It further suggests that you must raise children for the future since they are the tomorrow of this world. JDPC encourages parents to spend time helping children to reach their potential by showing them good examples, mentoring, and tutoring. This is important because whatever happens in the families reflects or has a ripple effect over the world. Therefore, whoever wants to create a better world must create better families.
Another way in which JDPC contributes to the good of society is by getting involved in their communities and impacting on them. They directly involve themselves in helping and enhancing the upliftment of the downtrodden and the common good of the community. This commission does this by extending its kindness and love to the widows, the poor, the orphans, and the homeless in the community. JDPC knows that there are many out there who have no food, no shelter, no clothing, name it. Hence, it gives relief materials to the poor from time to time and organizes micro-credit schemes for the poor and the widows to empower them to start small scale businesses. By this, it lights a candle in this darkened world and thus makes a difference in the lives of these people.
JDPC is conscious of the fact that it is almost impossible to live peacefully with others without genuine love. Today, we have a chaotic situation in the world because there is no love. The commission envelops its work with love and teaches others to love their neighbour since love ensures co-existence, reconciliation, peace, and justice. For JDPC, love is the missing link in our world; hence there is trouble. Can you provide that link? It provides that link by caring for the hopeless in society. The commission does this by visiting the prisoners and caring for them, visiting the hospitals and sensitizing the community on HIV/AIDS and other diseases, providing scholarships to needy students, and many other ways. In showing this love and care, JDPC is in no small measure creating a better world.
Also, creating a better world entails ensuring peace and justice anywhere you find yourself. In recent times, terrorism, religious, and tribal crises are eroding our global peaceful co-existence. There is a great need for all to work for justice and peace. God wants us to act justly and love tenderly. There can be no peace without true justice. Everyone must collectively work together with a common vision of building a just and peaceful society. Hence, JDPC stands for justice in order to ensure peace and peaceful co-existence in our families, communities, and nations. It actively enlightens others about their rights and ensures that people respect their rights. Also, JDPC assists in promoting justice in the community and provides free legal services for those who cannot afford them. Through these activities, the commission sows the seed of peace and creates a beautiful world.
Finally, Justice Development and Peace/Caritas commission believes that if you wish to contribute to making the world a better place, you must be ready to do what you can, beginning with yourself, in any place you can, as long as you can. It encourages everyone to be part of the solution, not the problems of the world. The commission is convinced that people can be empowered to contribute positively to the society in which they live. Hence, it takes joy in sensitizing, advocating, and empowering the people and putting smiles and hope in their lives. In this way, JDPC makes the world a better place for all to live.