The parish priest of Saint Michael, Raphael and Gabriel Catholic Church (Archangel Parish) Satellite Town, Lagos, Rev Fr. Vincent Ezezue has called on churches, government and well-meaning Nigerians to care for, as well as empower the less privileged in the society, so as to make them productive and better citizens of Nigeria.
Giving this charge at an outreach to the less privileged in the community to commemorate the celebration of the feast of Saint Vincent de Paul Society, Ezezue said that it was necessary to always consider the needy and bring them closer to God by extending hands of fellowship to them.
“When we are marking the feast of Saint Vincent the Paul, the usual tradition is for us to gather the poor and the less privileged around us to share food items, clothes and other relief materials which they need”, he said.
The cleric who claimed that the parish usually gives relief items to the needy on monthly, at times quarterly basis, added that items distributed during the feast larger because 80 per cent of people who benefit are not from the parish.
“Most of the people who come here are from different parts of Lagos; even some of them come from as far as Ogun state; we don’t discriminate because the goods we distribute are gotten from the congregation”, he revealed.
Ezezue said the outreach is another way of reaching out to the poor in the society, adding that the economic situation of the country has affected many people, and most are in need of food and other necessities of life.
The priest claimed that the parish in various capacities has empowered some youths by sending them to skill acquisition centers to acquire skills like tailoring, mechanic, as well as set-up small scale business for some.
He also claimed that they (Parish) revolve loans by buying the tricycle popularly known as Keke Napep for an individual and later use the money realized from the tricycle to buy for another.
“We ensure the sustenance of this project by following the recipients up, to ensure that the money given to them is properly used. We have empowered more than 30 people this year.
“In the society, we could feel that there is hunger in the land because of adverse economic situation; many people who don’t want to are forced to beg. You can see some of them here today they are not disabled,” he said.
Also speaking on the occasion, the acting Chairman of the society; Mrs. Comfort Akuwudike said the gesture was not only to reach out to the less privileged in the society, but also to mark the country’s independence celebration.
Akuwudike said that the outreach was aimed at helping the less privilege relief the hard time,s by supporting them with food and other items which they need.
“Every year, we observe the feast, starting with nine days Novena. Within the week, we organise the food and items distributions, most of the time the donation comes from the parishioners.
“We hold three major outreach every year, namely, Christmas, Easter and Saint Vincent de Paul Society feast day. In between this major food sharing, we also share mini food distribution that we get from our benefactors”, she said.