The Catholic Church’s work for the people, especially the poor, must go beyond the needs for mere survival, said Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu.
The prelate said the Church’s care for the poor is important for their “integral well-being” and “love for neighbor includes upholding their dignity as fellow human beings and as children of God.”
Archbishop Palma made the pronouncement during the launch of Cebu Caritas’ justice and peace program on December 10.
“This is the true meaning of our faith, and this is the true consequence of our love,” said the prelate.
He expressed hope that the program will continue to empower the marginalized, who should not be “just passive receivers,” but active agents of their own well-being and development.
In its advocacy statement, Cebu Caritas stressed that “it is not enough that the Anawim (the lost, the least and the last) are provided aid, relief, food, health care, shelter, and other basic necessities.”
“They should also be made aware of their basic human rights,” it said.
“Through a grassroots-based education and information program, the Anawim are enabled and empowered to exercise their rights as citizens and to actively participate in governance and to hold public officials to account,” added the Caritas Cebu statement.
Chapel leaders of the Parroquia de San Francisco de Asis in Balamban and Parish Caritas volunteers from joined the activity, which was co-organized by the Balamban Parish Caritas and its Justice and Peace committee headed by lawyer Danrey Cabataña, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Cebu Chapter, and the University of San Carlos School of Law and Governance.
Volunteer lawyers from the IBP-Cebu and law students from the University of San Carlos School of Law and Governance also offered free legal services such as consultations, notarization of simple documents, drafting of legal documents, and assistance in national ID registration.