“The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself.” – Proverbs 11:25
Proverbs 11 teaches that a person who gives to others will gain even more. Verse 25 makes another point: “Generosity will be rewarded. Give a cup of water, and you will receive a cup of water in return.”
This reminds me of Caritas Manila (CM) and its various services intended for the marginalized sector of Philippine society. CM is the leading social arm of the Archdiocese of Manila and the integrator of the Church social services and development in Metro Manila.
Its programs and services are directed toward the total human development of destitute people and the promotion of social justice in the light of the Catholic Church’s social teachings.
CM views development as empowering the poor, giving priority to those no one else serves. It is concerned with addressing the present situation of disadvantaged groups such as the urban poor, women, and children.
At the same time, CM is also involved with national, even global issues such as the environment. The measure of its performance lies in its contribution to the improvement of the quality of life of the poor people in society.
One observation is that Filipinos are more generous with their assistance to Caritas today than they were 10 years ago. “There’s really a remarkable improvement,” according to my source, a former executive director of CM, for this interview some years back. “Generally, Filipinos are kind.” At present, the executive director of CM is Fr. Anton C.T. Pascual.
Caritas Manila, then known as Catholic Charities was founded by the late Archbishop of Manila, Rufino Cardinal Santos in October 1953. He saw it as a “social welfare program with the purpose of uplifting the spirit and soul of these unfortunate members of our community . . . to assist them in all their needs . . . to bring the assistance and help of God in their miseries and distress.”
CM now focuses on socio-development activities that would wholistically draw out the poor’s capabilities and responsibilities. This stemmed from the belief that “self-reliance cannot be achieved through social services alone.”
Since then it has shifted to community building, to make the poor people self-reliant. They only dole-out in extreme emergencies, for example to those victimized by fires, floods, and other calamities. They always emphasize self-reliance, they help them find a job or train them to develop their skills.
Despite the passing of time, Caritas remains relevant. “I think we will still be here,” said my source. “But ideally we should fade away because it would mean then that the people are all economically, morally well-off. That’s our ultimate goal.”
Its accomplishment in helping people towards self-reliance has been an encouragement to continue CM’s commitment to helping build lives again. Above all, Caritas has uplifted our poor countrymen to their fullest dignity as God’s children.
Lenten Season Alay Kapwa 2021 campaign
This campaign challenges one to abstain from meals or habits in exchange for giving to the poor. From whatever you choose to give up Lenten season, you may save P40 a day. A total of Php 1,600 can be raised in 40 days, which you may donate to their feeding and nutrition campaign addressing hunger and malnutrition resulting from the pandemic and typhoons.
Caritas hopes that you accept this act of almsgiving by supporting the Alay Kapwa campaign and being the face of Christ’s love to those most in need in these trying times. You may share your blessings through their official bank accounts and online donation portals.
For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/OfficialCaritasManila.
As the saying goes, “Service is working and giving and understanding that no good deed will be lost.”
(Based on the article published in the Mirror Weekly magazine by the same author)
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Photos courtesy @OfficialCaritasManila