‘Integrated spirituality’ key to helping poor – Nassa official

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PALO, Leyte, Aug. 24, 2015 -– Blaming man’s tendency to separate real life decisions from his spirituality, Caritas Philippines’ executive director Fr. Ed Gariguez said an integrated spirituality is the cure to indifference to the poor.

“You can truly help the Church if you help the poor, those you do not know and really need help,” he said.

Speaking at the recent culmination of the 40-day Alay Kapwa fund drive of the Archdiocese of Palo, the priest mentioned an “integrated spirituality”, which Pope Francis’ referred to in a homily a few days ago, where he warned people against the dangers of the “subtle sin” of worldliness.

Rich-poor gap

Citing various personal experiences which show churchgoers’ tendency to dichotomize their lives and their spirituality, he noted: “Many are poor not because they are indolent but because of the gap between the rich and the poor.”

He likewise reminded the members of the Social Action Commissions from various parishes in the Archdiocese of Palo that the Church‘s mission, as explained by the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, calls the lay-faithful to help the poor.

As Gariguez explained, PCP II, which builds on the Second Vatican Council’s designation of the Church as the “Church of the Poor”, also put forth the role of the lay in the duty of the “Church in the modern world,” in caring for the poor, citing Matthew 25 as a Biblical basis.

“Poverty is a development issue and could be addressed by charity,” the priest said adding, “We should develop the passion to serve with joy.”

READ: Year of the Poor-inspired Marian fun run set 

40 years of Alay Kapwa

According to him, this is the reason behind giving the laity an active part in the Church’s social action apostolate, such as the Alay Kapwa program.

He, however, stressed that the said apostolate requires following the “see, judge and act” process, as recommended by Vatican II.

The CBCP’s Alay Kapwa program, now on its 40th year, is an avenue for the laity to concretely help in the bigger Church’s desire to reach out to the poor and the needy.

Fr. Elmo Manching, director of Palo’s Archdiocesan Social Action Commission, said the share of the Archdiocese in the amount raised from the Alay Kapwa drive will be used to fund various social action programs such as livelihood and poverty alleviation, disaster response and rehabilitation, charitable and responsible ecology, assistance for prisoners, and scholarships to indigent yet deserving students, among others.

Manching, however, could not provide the exact amount raised as yet with more parishes still in the process of remitting their collections to the archdiocese. (Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros / CBCP News)

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