Tagle tells former street kids, ‘Jesus knows homelessness’

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Cardinal Tagle walks and talks with some of the scavenger kids of Smokey Mountain in Tondo. [Photo credit: Alexandra Chapeleau

MANILA, Dec. 9, 2013—Much-needed encouragement — this is what Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle gave to a group of former street kids when he told them recently, Jesus knows what it is like to have no home. 

“[Jesus] knows what the homeless go through and He is in solidarity with us and now, He is our family,” Cardinal Tagle told some 40 former street children, who are now under the care of the Tulay ng Kabataan (TNK) Foundation, a charity that has been helping marginalized youth like scavenger children and street kids start a new life since 1998. 

A homeless Jesus 

Quoting the Bible verse where Jesus talks about “foxes having lairs and birds of the air having nests, but the Son of Man having nowhere to lay his head”, Cardinal Tagle said, these were Jesus’ words of love to “people who through no fault of their own have nowhere to call home.” 

Assuring them of God’s special love for them, despite life’s many hardships, he said, “What is important is Jesus knows that experience [of homelessness].” 

Earlier on that same day, Tagle visited TNK’s Blessed Theresa Center in Tondo, Smokey Mountain for scavenger kids, and encouraged the young people to make Jesus their family. 

“When you are looking for love, think of Jesus. When you are looking for a family, think of Jesus. He is family; He is love,” he told the former street children who are currently staying at the Charles de Foucauld Center in Intramuros, Manila, a few blocks away from the Archdiocese of Manila’s Chancery. 

The mark of love 

He also reminded them to “grow in love” for each other at the TNK center as a family. 

Eventually, Tagle told them, the love they had experienced in the TNK family will be their “trademark.” 

“When you have your own families, your own jobs, that [love] is what you should pass on…Let that be your mark. When others see you and ask you where you came from, you’ll tell them you came from TNK. And you’ll be a good father, mother because you learned how to love,” he added. 

After his short message, Tagle joined the kids for a simple meal to celebrate the feast day of the center’s patron Blessed Charles de Foucauld, a Cisterian Trappist monk who was martyred in 1916. 

For those interested to help TNK, online donations may be made by accessing www.associationanak.org or by making a deposit to Bank of the Philippine Islands España – Quezon Avenue, branch 304 bank account. For peso donations, please deposit to BPI account number #3043-6397-21 and for U.S. dollars, to #3044-0104-36. 

For more information, please email info@tnkfoundation.org [Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz]

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