MANILA, Dec. 3, 2014—With Christmas just a few days away, a religious sister reminded the faithful of the need to always live out the spirit of helping and giving, particularly to those in need.
“We really made it to have the celebration on the first week of Advent as our way of [preparing for] the coming of the Lord, and also for us the religious to be more vigilant that we are for others, especially for the poorest of them all,” Sr. Michaela V. Gotangco, FDCC told Church-run Radyo Veritas in an interview.
Gotangco, who is also the executive secretary of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines for Women (AMRSWP), explained the launch of the Year of Consecrated Life, along with the Year of the Poor, calls on everyone to open their hearts and minds to reaching out to others who have less in life.
The Canossian sister noted the new liturgical years are significant in the light of Advent, a season which readies Christians for the coming of their Lord and Savior.
In the opening celebration of the Year of the Poor held Saturday, Nov. 9, at the Paco Catholic School Auditorium, Fr. Enrico Martin Adoviso, head of the Archdiocese of Manila (RCAM)’s Commission on Social Services and Development (CSSD), stated that the faithful, as the Church of the Poor, are called to renew their commitment to Christ’s mission and to always take the side of the poor and the oppressed, especially when and where there is injustice and denial of basic human rights.
“The farmers that till the land to bring us food, the fisher folks who navigate the seas for us and the workers who run the industries are still materially poor after decades and generations of work for living. Their dignity as co-creator of the Lord should be reclaimed,” he said.
“The handicapped, prisoners, indigenous people and even the victims of calamities are in dire need of our compassion to lift up their hope and spirits. They are all poor, and they are all sons and daughters of our Lord”, Also, the world need to re-examine the use of our natural resources, for more often, the destruction of God’s gift make the poor poorer”, he added.
Themed “Bumangon at Manindigan” (Rise and Stand up), the year-round event is in line with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)’s declaration of 2015 as a time for the faithful to do their part in helping the poor, especially in pushing for and acting on the true alleviation, reduction, and eradication of poverty in the country.
The occasion, which comes third in the nine-year era of New Evangelization, prepares Filipinos ahead of the 500th anniversary of the coming of the Catholic Faith in the Philippines in 2021.
A recent survey shows, however, that despite the 12.1 million Filipinos who claim they experience poverty, some 39 percent of the population remain hopeful that a much better life awaits them in the coming year. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)