Caritas Goa, though humble in its origins, have been impressive in terms of reaching out to the needs of the people. Its main task initially was to mitigate the problems of the prisoners soon after the liberation of Goa. The various prisoner camps were supplied with food items and other necessities. In the course of time, it became necessary to address the actual situation in the State of Goa. The journey of 50 years is loaded with events and experiences which eventually charted the various projects and programmes of Caritas Goa.
In the beginning, the focus rested on welfare oriented interventions which saw the light of projects like building houses, doling regular aid through the various schemes of Catholic Relief Services in schools, parishes and villages and through other well-wishers.
Caritas Goa has always designed its works within the framework of Millennium Development Goals. Its development works reaches out to the persons with different abilities, poor and destitute, displaced, people living with HIV and AIDS, migrant workers, women and children.
It is necessary to note that Caritas – Goa gradually moved into developmental initiatives in order to bring in substantial change in the lives of people. Caritas established schools especially for the differently abled, vocational training institutes and the like. Simultaneously, there was also concern raised about several unjust structures and practices which needed to be addressed in order to impact the initiatives that were being taken.
As a result, in 1976 the Diocesan Service Centre for Social Action was constituted but attached to Caritas Goa, wherein it was expected that Caritas would take up not just welfare programmes but also be involved in transformation work. Thus another phase of work of restoration of rights began. Later in 2005, the Diocesan Service Centre for Social Action was renamed and an autonomous body, the Council for Social Justice and Peace was created.
Caritas Goa collaborates with several NGOs and has pioneered in creating network groups involved in social endeavours to focus on specific issues of people.
Caritas Goa, an integral part of the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman, is entrusted the task of actualizing the mission of Jesus Christ. It has honestly been involved in transforming lives in the course of its journey of fifty fulfilling years. The mission of Jesus Christ is challenging and ever growing. Being relevant and ever sensitive Caritas Goa has to labour towards the Building of the Kingdom of God, here and now.
The Archdiocese of Goa and Daman rendered service to the people in Christian Social Formation and in Charitable and Welfare Works through Caritas Portuguesa till 1961.
The historic events in December 1961 resulted in the departure of the Portuguese. Always sensitive to the needs of God’s children and committed to their holistic welfare, the then Archbishop-Patriarch, Don Jose Vieira Alvernaz immediately established Caritas-Goa and constituted a Commission on 3rd January 1962 through Portaria No.2-62, comprising:
Mons. Dr. Raul Nicolau Gonsalves, Fr. Gilberto Jose Salvador Ribeiro, Fr. Alberto Caetano Santana Pompeia Luis, as Members.
The Commission office was housed in the Paco Patriarcal, Panjim in the area now occupied by Seccao das Confrarias. Fr. Gilberto was the Secretary of the Commission. The welfare work and education of children continued with little interruption, despite the prevailing circumstances. The Commission office, Saligao Seminary and Lar dos Estudantes were the storage and distribution Centres for food and other material sent by the Catholic Relief Services. Fr. Joao Pedro Fernandes, although not a Member of the Commission, was very much involved in the work. When Archbishop-Patriarch Alvernaz left Goa in March, 1962, Mons. Francisco Xaviar da Piedade Rebelo was put in Charge of the Archdiocese.
Mons. Raul Gonsalves undertook the responsibility with the other members, of locating and rendering all possible assistance. The Papal Nuncio, Cardinal Knox visited Goa often.
Following the sudden demise of Fr. Gilberto Ribeiro on 19th July 1969, Fr. Cirilo Pascoal Pereira S. F. X. was appointed Director of Caritas-Goa vide Portaria No.93-69 of 19th August 1969. Fr. Pereira expanded the activities of the Centre to meet the growing needs of the Disabled and the Poor. The Relief work was expanded to giving of Subsidies for Animal Husbandry Projects.
Caritas-Goa was registered as a Society under Societies Registration Act 1860 under the Act Sl. No.336 on 8th November 1971 and was established on 18th November 1971.
Msgr. Alberto C.S.P.L. Luis was appointed Director through Portaria No. CP-P/109/79 dated 1st August 1979, to replace Fr. C. Pereira, sfx. Beginning his association as a member of the newly established Caritas-Goa in January 1962 and serving till 1964, Msgr. Luis returned to it, at its helm after a gap of fifteen years. As he took charge of the Institution, he dedicated his time and energy to the upliftment of the disadvantaged, neglected and oppressed.
Fr. Valeriano Vaz took over from Msgr. Alberto Luis from 1st June 2001 as the Director of Caritas-Goa and continues to dedicate his time and energy for the upliftment of the maginalized. Special attention has been given to health care and Responsible Tourism.