The Catholic Agency for Justice, Peace and Development

Caritas celebrates 50 years with the Diocese of Palmerston North

Media Image Credits: 
Photo credit: Mareta Tana
Event date: 
25 Nov 2019

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand celebrated its 'Jubilee Year' this year, representing 50 years since national bodies were established for justice, peace and development, including the provision of Catholic volunteers overseas.

In the last of the series of celebratory Diocesan Masses, Bishop Owen Dolan of Palmerston North celebrated a special Mass together with Monsignors Brian Walsh and David Bell, Deacon Trung Nguyen, and Fathers Anthony and Joseph to mark the occasion. In his homily, Bishop Owen talked about the work of Caritas over 50 years with a special mention of its connections to the Diocese of Palmerston North.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is responsible to the Bishops in providing an avenue for Catholics to be actively involved in overcoming poverty and injustice and to be involved in the work of peace and development both in Aotearoa New Zealand and abroad. The organisation grew out of Catholic concern in the late 1950s and 1960s for justice and a fairer distribution of the world's resources; as well as the Second Vatican Council's promotion of the Church's concern for social issues and the role of the laity.

Caritas has held a series of Diocesan Masses throughout the year to acknowledge and honour all those, past and present, supporting the Church's mission for justice, peace and development. Anniversary masses have previously been held in Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland.



Following their attendance at the Vatican Council on the role of the Laity in the 1960s, former Archbishop of Wellington Cardinal Reginald Delargey, Bishop of Christchurch Brian Ashby, Fr John Curnow and Jocelyn Franklin were instrumental in the beginning of Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand.  They committed themselves to ‘reading the signs of the times’, meaning the church should listen to, learn from, and respond to the world around it, applying Catholic social analysis principles of See, Judge, Act.  

Today, Caritas continues to read the signs of the times and apply See, Judge, Act to the issues of our day in Aotearoa New Zealand and overseas.  

In 1975, it joined the international Caritas network of 165 Catholic aid, development and social justice agencies, adopting the Caritas name in 1992. A short history of the organisation is also available on the Caritas website at:  

To arrange an interview or for more information, please contact Community and Advocacy Assistant, Joanna Viernes on 021 0273 1614 or

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