MANILA, Dec. 18, 2015— Creating approaches to child protection, educational programs, and even health services needs the involvement of the entire community, a top churchman said.
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila said there should be a community effort and commitment in fulfilling children’s rights.
“Society must help in giving education, love, nutrition, care and an environment suitable for children,” explained the prelate.
“Let us remember that Jesus once was a child and these children are his friends, brothers and sisters,” he said.
The cardinal made the statement in his homily during a Mass for this year’s “Panunuluyan” held at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila in Intramuros on Friday.
Cardinal Tagle also blessed white balloons on which around 350 children wrote their rights, hopes, and dreams.
The Panunuluyan, organized by the Urban Poor Associates (UPA), re-enacts the search of Joseph and Mary for a fitting place where the child Jesus could be born.
Fr. Robert Reyes, the “running priest” and UPA spiritual adviser, said children reflect the truth and “truth is beautiful.”
“Let us look at children again as we look at Christ child and realize that the world without truth is ugly. A world without truth is violent and aggressive. A world without truth is selfish,” he said.
“That’s why Jesus during Christmas and each day of the year reminds adults, unless you become little children you will not enter the kingdom of God,” added Reyes.
‘Genuine Christmas spirit’
UPA executive director Denis Murphy said urban poor children continue to face terrible problems such as violence, eviction, homelessness, lack of opportunity, and hunger.
“This panunuluyan is a reminder that we must take care of them. They can only be the future of the country if they are able to harness their best potentials,” Murphy said.
For her part, Tina Jurado, UPA community organizer, said they viewed the event in the light of the urban poor children’s search for homes, peace, and a decent life.
“The group believes that the genuine spirit of Christmas can be found in the children—they are our little Jesus— hence they must be given care and love,” Jurado said.
Other organizers of the event include the Community Organizers Multiversity (COM), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA). (CBCP News)