Servant leadership convention gathers church, lay officials

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MANILA, June 17, 2013—Responding to the need to promote the virtue of stewardship among country officials and lay people alike, a Catholic charismatic organization recently conducted a convention that tackled the ideal virtues to be imbibed by a servant leader.

Dubbed as “Servant Leadership in the Year of Faith,” the Serviam Catholic Charismatic Community, a lay organization promoting charismatic services and activities among Filipino Catholics, held a convention June 14 to 15 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City to promote servant leadership while heeding Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s declaration of the Year of Faith.

“This conference is to bring out the principle and challenge of servant leadership as a way of life through following Jesus Christ as our role model,” said Fr. Anton C.T. Pascual, Serviam Community spiritual adviser.

Almost a thousand delegates from various dioceses, archdioceses, religious groups, and lay organizations, graced the event as clergy officials and personalities from both public service and lay movements gave talks on servant leadership in various contexts.

“We have to be leaders who serve, not leaders who enrich ourselves and abuse people. Power corrupts and we have to be very careful with the power that we have. It is given to us by God not to be a dictator or to take advantage of weak people but to be of service to humanity,” Pascual said.

Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma urged the faithful to keep the image of Christ in giving service to others.

“I hope that this unique way of service can draw more people to imitate out the Lord’s radical way of discipleship. May this also be a reminder to all leaders of our Church and our nation as they strive to keep alive their commitment and dedication to a life of service,” Palma said in his message for the 2-day convention.

Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara echoed Palma’s call and noted the importance of emulating Christ’s example through self-emptying and keeping the virtue of humility alive.

“Through His ministry, Christ followed the will of His Father which is to serve and save His people. All His life is focused on loving service to people leaving His apostles and followers and example to emulate,” Vergara said.

“We can do as Christ did only if we become as humble as Christ Himself. Like Him, we too must forget ourselves so we can reach out to people, especially the least, the last, and the lost,” he added.

Noting the original sin as the source of evil affecting the Philippine society, Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco called on leaders to fight its effects and go back to the ideals of servant leadership.

“Man has been affected by original sin and as a consequence, human conduct and institutions became corrupted. Secularism and materialism have crept in society and so leadership is of primary independence,” Ongtioco said.

“The election of Pope Francis has brought a new spirit and a new kind of leadership in the Church. It is servant leadership. We are invited to go back to our roots and live in simplicity,” he added. (Jennifer M. Orillaza) 

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