By Santosh Digal
Dhaka, March 27, 2019: Caritas is willing to explore possibility to open offices in China and Laos, says the newly elected president of the Catholic aid agency’ Asia wing.
Benedict Alo D’Rozario, former executive director of Caritas Bangladesh, was on March 22 elected the first lay person to head Caritas Asia.
The election took place during Caritas Asia Regional Assembly in Bangkok, capital of Thailand.
Santosh Dgial of Matters India talked to D’Rozario upon his election. Excerpts:
Please introduce yourself.
Benedict Alo D’Rozario: l was born in 1956 at Daripara parish of Dhaka Archdiocese. I worked for Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace in Bangladesh for five years and Caritas Bangladesh for 29 years. Of 29 years, I was the Executive Director of Caritas Bangladesh for 11 years.
After retirement in 2016 from Caritas, I have been serving as a volunteer through the various governance structures and committees of Caritas Asia and Caritas Internationalis, which is said to be the world’s biggest network of aid organizations next to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
For the last 15 years, I have been editorial board member of the Pratibeshi, the only Catholic weekly in Bangladesh. My wife is Roselyme Palma and we have three children—two daughters, both are married, and one son who will complete his Bachelor study in Computer Engineering in April.
What are your sentiments on being elected the new president of Caritas Asia?
God has chosen me to take on the leadership of Caritas Asia, I think. This is another miracle in my life. This is also God’s plan for me and I will humbly and faithfully follow His plan.
I sincerely thank all who nominated me, voted for me and prayed for me. My request to all of them is to continue pray for me so that I may carry out the expected role and responsibilities of Caritas Asia President.
What are your priorities?
I wish to strengthen staff formation on Caritas identity, Catholic Social Teachings and spirituality.
Increasing interventions in safe migration, care for creation, justice and peace, inter-faith dialogue, safeguarding policy for minors and adults are also my priorities.
For promoting solidarity, I hope to undertake joint actions with the different offices of Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC). Emphasis will also put on institutional development of Caritas organizations in Central Asia and establishing Caritas organizations in countries such as China and Laos.
How do you see the role of Caritas Asia in the region?
Considering the population, Asia is the biggest continent. A significant percent of the population in Asia is yet to have their basic rights met and dignity respected.
Most Christians in Asia are the poorest of the poor. To address the humanitarian and development needs of the huge impoverished population in Asia, faith based organisations like Caritas should do more in an organised and professional way.