Philippine Daily Inquirer

CHURCH IS GOV’T PART­NER IN HELP­ING POOR

- ROMY O. PONTE, ropin­quirer@ya­hoo.com

NO true Catholic would ever claim to be per­fect. But our im­per­fec­tions do not hin­der the Catholic Church in bring­ing and wit­ness­ing Christ’s love and good­ness to other peo­ple, es­pe­cially the im­pov­er­ished and aban­doned sec­tors of so­ci­ety.

The Dio­cese of San Pablo in La­guna, for in­stance, has been feed­ing about 20,000 mal­nour­ished chil­dren daily in the past 10 years or so. It has also main­tained an in­sti­tu­tion called “Ba­hay Pag-ibig” to care for the aban­doned and ne­glected el­derly in the city streets, pro­vid­ing them ba­sic ma­te­rial and spir­i­tual needs, de­cent lives and a car­ing en­vi­ron­ment un­til they die.

There are also re­li­gious con­gre­ga­tions for women that care for vic­tims of sex­ual abuses, mal­treat­ment, etc., giving them shel­ter as well as moral, spir­i­tual and psy­cho­log­i­cal as­sis­tance. I know of Catholic uni­ver­si­ties and col­leges that ac­cept poor, marginal­ized work­ing stu­dents and help them be­come fu­ture pro­fes­sion­als through their stu­dent as­sis­tance pro­grams.

The Catholic Arch­dio­cese of Ca­gayan de Oro has an or­phan­age for aban­doned kids called the House of Friend­ship, which even­tu­ally evolved into the Balay Canossa Or­phan­age (man­aged by the Canos­san Mis­sion­ar­ies); it ac­com­mo­dates and pro­tects aban­doned, ne­glected and or- phaned street chil­dren.

These are only few of the count­less ser­vices Catholic churches and re­li­gious con­gre­ga­tions pro­vide the poor and the marginal­ized, those that can­not be reached by the gov­ern­ment. All of these have been hap­pen­ing with­out fan­fare and are sel­dom re­ported by lo­cal or na­tional me­dia.

For the long­est time, Catholic churches all over the coun­try, im­per­fect and wounded as the in­sti­tu­tion may be, have been ac­tive part­ners of the gov­ern­ment in up­lift­ing the plight of the poor and the for­got­ten.

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