‘Do we care for the poor?’—sister to faithful

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QUEZON City, Nov. 20, 2014—Two months ahead of the upcoming papal visit set on Jan. 15 to 19 next year, and days before the start of the “Year of the Poor”, a Catholic sister has invited the faithful to explore the depth of their concern for the poor and the various social issues affecting them.

55% of (or 12.1 million) Filipino families consider themselves poor. (Photo: CBCP News)

“What are the real cries and groanings of the poor? Do we really care to know them? Do we reach out to them? Where do we listen and where do we hear them, in the margins, in the peripheries, outside the gate? Or do we listen elsewhere?” asked Sr. Maureen S. Catabian, a religious of the Good Shepherd (RGS) in a speech she gave Wednesday, Nov. 19, during the launch of Pope Francis postcards in New Manila, Quezon City, speardheaded by the Promotion of Church People’s Response.

‘Fullness of life’

“Who are giving them voice? Where are they located? Do they have the true heart and mind of Christ? Those giving them voice—how do they sound? Is it in real solidarity? Or is it condemning and condescending? Is it denouncing and demanding transformation? Is it preserving the status quo while running business as usual, promoting its own interests, powers, and privileges? Is it truly seeking genuine social change, putting those in the margins in the centers of society, empowering them to speak for themselves for their own liberation?” she added.

Catabian shared the launch was a “concrete and sincere expression of our acts of solidarity and unwavering commitment as a Church to listen, to dialogue, and be one with the cries and groanings of our marginalized sisters and brothers”.

She noted those struggling for “fullness of life and fullness of peace” in their homes and communities, coming from the various peripheries of this “sacred land of our ancestors”, have walked miles for a pilgrimage which she dubbed a “journey of faith, justice, solidarity, hope, and celebration”.

“You are the very people for whom Jesus had offered His very life so you may have its fullness and be redeemed from the social sins of oppression, exploitation, discrimination, and systemic injustice,” she said.

High GDP

“We believe in a God who, because of His great love for humanity and all creation, has become incarnate, born among us so that we may all be justified to live life in its fullness,” she declared.

According to her, faith in the “God of Life and of Shalom” challenges the faithful to question the prevailing conditions of their suffering brothers and sisters in the Philippines.

Catabian blasted the present government that boasts high percentage of economic growth in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that is supposed to ensure a good life for every Filipino.

“It is not true that ‘It is More Fun in the Philippines’ for the suffering and hungry Filipinos?” the sister asked. (Raymond A. Sebastián)

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