MANILA, Oct. 6, 2013—Aiming to espouse the importance of generosity among the Catholic faithful, Caritas Manila drew together hundreds of its volunteer workers in a two-day conference dubbed as Generosity Conference held at the San Carlos Seminary last September 28.
Caritas Manila executive director Fr. Anton C.T. Pascual said the conference intends to deepen the spirituality of giving among the laity in time for the organization’s 60th anniversary.
“We are doing this conference to strengthen the spirit of sharing our blessings and living the virtue of stewardship through giving one’s time, talent, and treasure for the poor,” Pascual said.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, in his keynote speech during the conference, urged the laity to live the virtue of generosity in their lives by imitating the actions of the Divine in extending help to those who are needy.
He added that those who recognize the Divine as the source of every blessing must strive to follow His ways in sharing their blessings to others.
“We learn how to give by first receiving and learning from God the giver. We do not have any other model but the Lord for all of us have experienced His generosity,” Tagle said. “The challenge is if we are aware of how God blesses us. Have we thought of how much God has bestowed us with blessings? If yes, you would not just be thankful. You would also be changed.”
“How you receive from our generous Lord is also how you should give to others. Learn from God who is the Father,” he added.
During the first day of the conference, Catholic lay preacher, author, and musician Arun Ocop Gogna gave a testimonial on living an inspired life, focusing on the virtue of joy as the fruit of sharing one’s blessing.
Kidae Lee, chief executive officer of The Beautiful Store in Korea, tackled the different factors that motivate the act of giving, further emphasizing that the heart and not the mind must be the source of one’s generosity.
The concept of friend raisers was introduced by Association of Foundations executive director Norman Joseph Jiao, noting how the act of friend raising builds the act of charity. Meanwhile, the discipline and ethics of friend raising was discussed by Marianne Quebral, Asian Institute of Management vice president for institutional advancement.
Donald Patrick Lim, Mc Cann World Group Philippines vice president and managing director, gave a testimonial on the traditional, creative, and non-conformist ways of giving to help the lay faithful fulfill their mission of being more charitable to those who are needy.
On the second day, financial coach Christian Roman gave a talk on the importance and evolution of Biblical Tighting in the modern generation, noting how this act of generosity changes people and their lives.
Philanthropist and professional architect Felino Palafox Jr. tackled ways to sustain philanthropy while achieving development through the adaptation of sustainable architecture in the country.
The spirituality of giving was expounded by Pascual as he noted the various implications of charitable acts to one’s neighbor.
As Caritas Manila celebrates its 60th anniversary, Pascual said it is through the grace of God that the organization was able to surpass the challenges that came its way.
“The Lord has used Caritas Manila to let the poor feel that they are not alone in this journey for they have always been loved by the church of the Lord,” he said.
“For the past 60 years, we have evolved from being a social welfare group to a social development organization—we strive to help the poor help themselves. The dole-outs are still present as an act of mercy, but we do not settle on that. We have developmental programs for the sectors of education, preventive health, and livelihood to help the poor,” Pascual added.
Caritas Manila is also in the process of strengthening their social entrepreneurship programs and income-generating projects to help the organization sustain itself, making it more self-sufficient and not 100 percent income-dependent, he noted.
Pascual added that the organization is gradually extending its reach nationwide to help impoverished Filipinos in far-flung areas, especially during instances of disasters. Its social development and entrepreneur programs involving scholarship and livelihood grants will also be extended to a nationwide scope.
“We just continue to practice good governance by means of fairness, accountability, transparency. Through maintaining our integrity, we could solidify the trust of our people that out of the amount they donate, 70 to 80 percent really goes to our poor beneficiaries. Only 20-30 percent goes to our operational expenses,” he said.
He added that they are spreading the social marketing program of the organization to “increase the awareness of the Catholic faithful to use Caritas Manila, a credible church organization, in extending help to the poor.” (Jennifer Orillaza)