Priest calls on public to support Tagle benefit concert

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QUEZON City, Nov. 29, 2014— Fr. Nono Alfonso, Jesuit Communications Foundation (JesCom) executive director, hopes the public will support the upcoming “Patron of the Arts” concert, an event also backed by Manila Archbishop Luís Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, to be held on Dec. 12 at the Meralco Theater, Pasig City.

Fr. Emmanuel "Nono" Alfonso (Photo: JesCom)

“In 2012, the Patron of the Arts raised money for the restoration of the iconic Manila Cathedral. Last year, we raised funds for the Cardinal’s social housing program,” Alfonso said, sharing that this year, the concert will benefit financially challenged but academically able Catholic school students.

According to the priest, Tagle hopes that the concert will be able to raise enough money to fund a scholarship burse for the poor students of the Archdiocese of Manila (RCAM)’s 27 parochial schools, which in recent years have been feeling a financial pinch.

Alfonso shared that this year’s show, which is in partnership with the PLDT-Smart Foundation, will feature the legendary music maestro Ryan Cayabyab, and the world-class Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra.

The event is also held on the Cardinal’s installation as Archbishop of Manila, as well as the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patron of the Arts 2014.

“Although it has been our joy and privilege to be serving and forming these young people, the financial cost of maintaining our schools has been a heavy burden for the Archdiocese,” Tagle lamented.

The prelate notes enrolment in RCAM schools has decreased by three percent for the last five years with poor students transferring to public schools.

“We are afraid that this trend would continue and would therefore deprive many of our young people good Catholic education and formation. We can however stem the tide. With your help, we can raise funds to provide students with scholarships or financial aid,” he said.

RCAM’s 27 schools offer basic to tertiary education, with a third of its roughly 30,000 students receiving scholarships or financial assistance.

Tagle stressed Catholic education is one of the primary works of the Catholic Church, saying that through her schools, young people “learn about the faith and grow in Christian virtue”.

“By teaching young men and women, the future of the Church and our country, the Catholic Church is undeniably following the footsteps of our Lord who came as our great teacher and prophet; we are also merely following His commission to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation (Mark 16:15),” he explained.

“It is no exaggeration to say that the emergence of a modern Philippines would not have been possible apart from the establishment and growth of our schools,” the prelate said.

“I am thus appealing for your help. Please join us in The Patron of the Arts, our yearly Christmas benefit show. Through this concert…we can jumpstart a fund campaign for our schools,” Tagle adeds.

For further information, call Dit Sablan at (02)426-5971 local 121 and (+63)908-886-8447; or email esablan@admu.edu.ph. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCPNews)

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