BUTUAN City, Agusan del Norte, Oct. 9, 2014—“Self-giving is at the heart of Christian charity.”
This statement sums up a speech delivered by Cáceres Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona on the 40th anniversary of “Alay Kapwa” held in Butuan City Monday, Oct. 6, in which the prelate stressed that giving to others must also be a “giving of oneself”.
“Giving means committing oneself to others, knowing they are one’s siblings in the faith. That’s the spirit of Alay Kapwa,” he said.
According to him, every Christian giver must feel the pain and suffering of others, without minding one’s own.
The bishop, who also chairs CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace (ECSA-JP); stressed that Alay Kapwa should be coupled with “aray kapwa”.
Quoting the late Mother Teresa, Tirona shared, “Give until it hurts.”
“We should smell like our neighbor. We should smell like sheep. This can happen only when we step out of our comfort zones, and try to reach out to people at the bottom,” he added.
Alay Kapwa is the Lenten evangelization program for the poor started by the Church in the Philippines in 1974.
It promotes love for one’s neighbors and God’s creation through “evangelization and resource mobilization of the local church,” and supports the disaster emergency and advocacies toward social transformation and resiliency of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)’s National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA).
Alay Kapwa’s anniversary celebration coincided with the 37th National Social Action General Assembly (NASAGA) which was hosted by the Diocese of Butuan.
The event invited some 200 delegates representing the Diocesan Social Action Centers (DSAC) nationwide to discuss the various social issues confronted by their respective espicopal sees. (Raymond A. Sebastián)