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Jean-Emile Anizan’s Praxis of Pastoral Charity in the Filipino Context
A Thesis Presented to
The Faculty of INTER-CONGREGATIONAL THEOLOGICAL CENTER
Graduate School of Theology OUR LADY OF THE ANGELS SEMINARY Seminary Road, Bagbag, Novaliches, Quezon city
Submitted by Rene T. Rivera, SC
March 3, 2008
OUR LADY OF THE ANGELS SEMINARY
INTER-CONGREGATIONAL THEOLOGICAL CENTER
Seminary Road, Bagbag, Novaliches, Quezon City P. O. Box 192, 1117 Novaliches, Quezon City Tel. Nos. 936-4083/936-4086 Fax: 936-4083
In partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry Inculturating Fr. Jean-Emile Anizan’s Praxis of Pastoral Charity in the Filipino Context has been prepared and submitted by: RENE T. RIVERA, SC who is hereby recommended for the Oral Defense Examination. Andres Rañoa, OFM Thesis Mentor Grade Given to the : Paper Date of Submission :
March 3, 2008
Approved by the Defense Panel of the Oral Examination 1.25 with the grade of: Dr. George N. Capaque Goullin, SC Member Oscar A. Ante, OFM Chairperson Accepted as a partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry Oscar A. Ante, OFM Academic Dean Fr. Gabriel Member
I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to the following who have made it possible for me to fulfill this paper: to Fr. Andres “Chito” Rañoa, OFM, my thesis mentor, for his generosity, guidance and assistance... to the faculty and staff of ICTC for the wisdom, knowledge and experience in the journey towards this end... to Fr. Gabriel Goullin, SC for his suggestions, encouragement and fatherlybrotherly support... to Bros. Jhonas Enopia, SC and the whole Sons of Charity in the Philippines for their fraternal support... to all my foster families during the Immersion for providing me a family, a home in which to do this work... to the parishioners of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish for their love and cooperation in the course of the study... to all my classmates, friends and family for the friendship and love... to God, who-is-Charity, Deus Caritas Est, for the gift of life and LOVE...
Maraming Salamat Po! Muchas Gracias!
DEFINITION OF TERMS Inculturation A new term for the old obligation to contextualize and indigenize the Christian message and way of life in the various cultures and peoples of our world. (Gerald O’Collins, S.J. et.al., A Concise Dictionary
of Theology, Revised and Expanded Edition. Publications, 2001. 118) Quezon City: Claretian
It is an essential quality of revelation, evangelization and theological reflection. Revelation,for instance, takes place within the context of a people, within the evolutionary framework of the sociocultural formation of that people. It denotes the active process emerging from within the culture that receives revelation through evangelization and that understands and translates it according to its own way of being, acting, and communicationg. (Marcello de C. Azevedo, “Inculturation,” Dictionary of
Fundamental Theology, Rene Latourelle, et.al. eds. New York: St. Pauls, 1994. 501)
In this paper, the terms inculturation and inculturating are interchangeably used with contextualization and contextualizing. Fr. Jean-Emile Anizan, SC 1853-1928. A Religious priest. Founder of the Congregation of the Sons of Charity. (see p. 31 ff.) Praxis Medieval Latin, from Greek prâxis=a doing, acting; from prâssein=to do, act; practice, especially as contrasted with theory; practical application of a theory; custom, use, conduct. (Robert K.
Barnhart, ed., The World Book Dictionary Volume Two L-Z. Chicago: World Book, Inc., 1988)
In this paper, it refers both to practice and concept. Pastoral Charity Charity is the third theological virtue, which presupposes the other two (faith and hope) and gives life to all virtues. Its primary object is God; secondarily it is directed toward ourselves and other human beings. Pastor is the Latin for shepherd. It is a term used of rulers in the Old Testament and of God as the Good Shepherd, and to Jesus in the New Testament. (see O’Collins, A Concise Dictionary of
In this paper, it means the Love of a Pastor or Shepherd, or one who ministers the flock—the Church. Charity here is interchangeably used with Love and also refers to the very Being of God (Deus Caritas Est). Filipino Context It refers to the socio-cultural and ecclesial characteristics or realities of the Philippines, in general, and the Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish, in particular. The socio-cultural context focuses
mainly on the three essential structures namely Economic, Political and Cultural. TABLE OF CONTENTS I. INTRODUCTION A. Background of the Study ................................................. B. Statement of the Problem ................................................ C. Objectives ........................................................................ D. Delimitation ..................................................................... E. Significance of the Study ................................................. F. Review of Related Literature............................................ G. Methodology .................................................................... THE FILIPINO CONTEXT 2.1 The Philippine Society and Church in General ............... 2.2 The Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish 1. A Brief History .......................................................... 18 2. Its Geophysical and Demographic Charactetistics ... 21 3. The Economic, Political and Cultural Background ... 23 4. The Ecclesial Background ..................................... 2.3 Challenges for Today ........................................................ FR. JEAN-EMILE ANIZAN’S PASTORAL CHARITY 3.1 The Founder and the Congregation 1. Life and Works ................................................... 37 2. The Sons of Charity ............................................ 45 3. Presence in the Philippines.................................. 47 B. Concept of Pastoral Charity .............................................. Page 1 3 3 4 5 6 7 9
WHAT IS PASTORAL CHARITY? A. Biblical Foundation .......................................................... 55 B. Benedict XVI on Charity .................................................. 64 THE CONTEXTUALIZATION OF PASTORAL CHARITY A. Pastoral Charity in the Filipino Context ........................... 69 B. Directions for Pastoral Initiatives ..................................... 78 CONCLUSION A. Summary of the Study........................................................ B. Findings ............................................................................. C. Recommendations ............................................................. Bibliography 88 91 96
CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION
A. Background of the Study The researcher is a fourth year student of the Inter-Congregational Theological Center (ICTC) at New Manila, Quezon City. “ICTC is an institute of learning where religious and lay men and women are formed on solid contextualized theological foundation to become pastors involved in effective, apostolic and liberating ministry,” noted in its promotional materials. “It integrates the academic, spiritual and pastoral components of its program in forming lay and religious men and women towards the promotion of Filipino Theology for ministry.” As part of the school’s academic and pastoral program, and in fulfillment of the academic requirements for post-graduate studies, this paper has been primarily conceptualized. The researcher is also a simple professed scholastic of the Congregation of the Sons of Charity and is presently assigned, together with Fr. Alvin Balean, SC, and Bro. Jhonas Enopia, SC, for pastoral ministry at The Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish, Veterans Village, Holy Spirit, Quezon City. jurisdiction of the Diocese of Novaliches. Last February 24, 2006, the General Superior of the Sons of Charity, Fr. Jose Miguel Sopeña, sent the three Filipino Sons of Charity on a new pastoral mission on the said parish “to make possible the growth of Filipino Sons of Charity who, from (our) The parish is under the ecclesiastical
source and tradition, will realize (our) charism in Philippine land. They will do it from a deep experience of God and from their heart of pastor, as Father Anizan did, and together with their own diversity.”1 In his report last April 25, 2006, culminating his six years as General Superior, Fr. Sopeña stressed “the urgency of charity” saying: “When we look at the world in which we live, at our neighborhoods and our people, or when we look at the Church or at our own teams, charity appears more urgent than ever…The Lord asks us to make it fruitful through a thousand fraternal, pastoral and apostolic inventions. Our social and ecclesial environment, our life as a congregation, and our mission constantly reveal to us the urgent call of charity.” Moreover, the same call was echoed in the 2006 General Chapter last July 2006. “The Chapter invites all Sons to deepen, to share, and to update our pastoral charity in the image of the Good Shepherd. What does pastoral charity look like in the places where we live and in our different cultural and religious contexts? How do we formulate it? What urgent pastoral and apostolic initiatives does it reveal to us?” This call was the very response to the words of our founder, Fr. Jean-Emile Anizan: “As Sons of Charity, we respond to God’s love with pastoral charity among the poor and those who earn their living day by day by the sweat of their brow.” It is by reason of these calls, the Church’s call for renewed ministry and the present challenges posed on pastoral ministry that the main theme of the paper has been chosen.
Jose Miguel Sopeña, “A New Stage on Our Way of Foundation in the Philippines,” Statement of the General Superior, February 24, 2006.
In the Philippines, ten years after the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II), the message of the National Pastoral Consultation on Church Renewal (NPCCR) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), issued on January 27, 2001, continues to call for renewal saying, “We are called to put out into the depths of Philippine life and society, to put out into the depths of our life as Church, to put out our nets into the unknown depths of the future…we know that the One who directs us is the Lord who has renewed all things by his life, death and resurrection. And so we dare to begin again in the task of renewal.” With all these, the researcher deemed it important to undertake the task of discovering and inculturating, through this paper, Fr. Anizan’s praxis of pastoral charity as contextualized in the Philippine Church and society today, particularly in the mission area to which the Sons of Charity was sent. It could likewise provide the direction by which the Sons in the Philippines will live out its “renewed pastoral ministry.”
B. Statement of the Problem This study shall delve into the attempt of the Sons of Charity to inculturate Fr. Jean-Emile Anizan’s praxis of pastoral charity, based on the present realities of the society and the Church in the Philippines today, particularly in its mission area—the Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish, and to provide directions for its pastoral orientation in the Philippines.
C. Objectives This study specifically aims:
1) to identify the social and ecclesial realities of the Philippines particularly the Sons’ mission area at the Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish; 2) to know and discover the praxis of pastoral charity by Fr. Jean-Emile Anizan; 3) to point out the meaning of pastoral charity in the biblical and ecclesial tradition; and 4) to inculturate Fr. Anizan’s praxis of pastoral charity based on the Filipino social and ecclesial context and provide directions for the Sons of Charity’s pastoral orientation.
D. Delimitation The study on the economic, political, cultural and ecclesial situation of the Philippines will specifically focus within the ecclesial boundaries of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish. It covers only 2,581 respondents or 444 families on the random sampling undertaken. Sampling was distributed to the four communities under its 30% of the respondents from the
jurisdiction based on population as follows:
community of Immaculate Conception (Area 6-Veterans Village), 10% from Resurrection (Garcia Heights), 40% from Sto. Niño (Areas 2, 3, 4, 5 and Nawasa Side) and 20% from Sagrada Familia (Area 1). The study on Fr. Anizan’s praxis of pastoral charity begins with his writings and shall include Congregation documents such as its Constitutions, General Chapter documents and other writings on the subject, but only as far as it may be available due to language limitation, considering that most of it were written in French and Spanish, and needs to be translated.
E. Significance of the Study The study is significant in providing theological reflections on mission and pastoral ministry especially at a time when the Church is confronted with the great challenges of the modern world, summed up as “uncharity.” It could well contribute to the development of pastoral theology in the light of pastoral charity, which is “the greatest” according to Jesus. The Church continous to seek for renewal in its efforts of evangelization. This study may provide some insights for “renewed integral evangelization” that PCP II envisions for the local Church. The study is relevant and timely, considering that it is the expressed call of the Congregation’s General Chapter of 2006 challenging all Sons in contextualizing pastoral charity in its own area and coming up with appropriate pastoral and apostolic initiatives. The study is significant for it is the Sons of Charity’s response to the continuous call of the Church for renewed pastoral ministry that is contextulaized to the actual realities of the people. Likewise, it is also the researcher’s contribution to the Congregation of the Sons of Charity in its efforts to establish and appropriate its charism in the Philippines, considering that it is still in its foundational stage. For the researcher, the study could also serve as an opportunity to discover and deepen in its knowledge of the Congregation’s founder and charism so as to be faithful to it in the performance of pastoral work.
The study may also serve as a model for other Religious Congregations, especially those which originated from foreign missionaries, to appropriate its charism on pastoral ministry in the Filipino context.
F. Review of Related Literature 1) Pope Benedict XVI. Encyclical Letter Deus Caritas Est. Vatican: 2005. This encyclical letter from the Pope gives us a wonderful interpretation of the meaning of love—both agape and eros. It also explains the meaning of God’s love, who is Charity Himself. It will be used to outline the importance of Christian love or charity in the Church today. It may serve as a reference in the interpretation of pastoral charity as deemed by the Supreme Pontiff. This will be used in chapter 4. 2) Fr. Benedict Dilag, CMF. Proclaiming Life in its Fullness: Claretian Popular Evangelization for the Local Church of Eastern Visayas. Quezon City: Claretian, 2004. According to the author himself as he wrote on the Preface of the book: “This work is a fine example of how to concretize collegiality in the local Church: the religious and the laity actively involved in evangelization together with their pastors—the bishop and the parish priests. Although it is set in a very particular context, the mission method and principles presented in this book are universal, effective and relevant to most local Churches in the Philippines and where New Evangelization is necessary.” The theoretical framework, documents and method used in this book are very helpful for the conduct of the study. This book could serve as a model or reference in coming up with a contextualized study. However, the study will be based mainly on the
charism of the Sons of Charity in parallel to that of the Claretian charism used on this book. 3) Rodier, Joseph, SC, translated by Lorenzo Lortie, SC. A Spirituality for Our Times: Emile Anizan. Paris: 2001. This book presents an autobiography of Fr. Anizan and his spiritual journey. This will be used as reference for the events in his life that helped shape his spirituality and pastoral actions. This will be used in chapter 3. 4) Fr. Jean-Emile Anizan. Our Triple Ideal. Paris: 1925. The Our Triple Ideal of Fr. Anizan would be the main source for the threedimensional vocation of the Sons of Charity as deemed by the founder himself. Thus, it would be helpful in providing the “origin” or “root” of being a true Sons of Charity from the point of view of the founder and as may be applied to the present realities of being a true Sons of Charity in the world today. This will be used in chapter 3. 5) Fr. Jean-Emile Anizan. Our Apostolate. Paris: 1923. This book written by Fr. Anizan himself provides the main guidelines by which the Sons of Charity are to exercise their pastoral actions. It will be utilized for the rerooting of his praxis of pastoral charity. This will be used in chapter 5.
G. Methodology The paper used different scientific, social or ecclesial methods in the conduct of the study. The widely used method in modern-day theological reflection called Pastoral Spiral is mainly used. It is otherwise known as the See-Judge-Act method.
In the second chapter of the study where we get to “see” the present realities of the Philippine society and the Church, data were gathered through Random Community Appraisal (RCA) at the Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish. Ramdon sampling was
undertaken on the four communities comprising the parish regarding its demographic, economic, political, cultural and ecclesial characteristics. Individual Oral Interview,
Focused Group Discussion and Literature Research were likewise used in the process. The reseacher also gathered data through the Participative-Observation Approach, where he was “immersed” in the life and activities of the abovementioned communities. Said researcher kept journals to record the data gathered. Historical-Structural Analysis was used in the analysis of the data gathered and the challenges it pose are outlined in the same chapter. In chapter three, to know and discover the praxis of Pastoral Charity by Fr. Anizan and to get a glimpse on how it has been lived through the years by the Sons of Charity, Literature Research and Individual Oral Interviews were conducted. In the “judge” part of the process, the study looked into the biblical foundation of Pastoral Charity and the different theological works of the Church in relation to it. It is presented in chapter four. In chapter five of the study, it presents the contextualization of Pastoral Charity in light of the data above. Eventually, in this chapter, the directions for pastoral initiatives were given to complete the “act” part of the process.
CHAPTER II THE FILIPINO CONTEXT
The first section will present a global panorama of the situation of the Church and the society in the Philippines. It will show where we are now as a people and as a Church, both positively and negatively, and what the signs of the times are through the events that unfold before us. The next section will specifically look into the context of The Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish, which is one of the mission areas of the Sons of Charity. This particular context provides focus for the study and narrows down the attempt of contextualization to the present mission of the Sons of Charity. The last section will sum up and present the most important challenges for the Church and the society today based on the contexts presented in the two sections above.
A. The Philippine Church and Society in General “In the nation at large there is a distinct development, even as the old order persists and seeks by all means to perpetuate itself, towards the greater role of the people in meeting the problems of the nation—greater involvement in decision-making, greater equality in both political and economic matters, more democracy, more participation, all subsumed by the term ‘people power.’ A parallel development can be noted in the Church: the formation of a more participatory Church, more involved in the life problems of the nation but also more embedded in the spirituality of the Gospel; in sum, the greater empowerment of the laity to act as fullfledge members of both nation and Church. These are not two distinct developments but one, indicating that the faith has been more inculturated, the Church more responsive to our people’s concerns, than conventional thinking would have it.”2
Acts and Decrees of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (Pasay City: St. Paul Publications, 1995), 291.
This is the summary of The Contemporary Philippine Situation found as Appendix I in the Acts and Decrees of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (hereafter referred as PCP II) in 1991. Seventeen years after, this may still well sum up the present situation in the Philippines but with probably more intensity and greater needs. Let us look into the details below. Based on the National Statistics Office (NSO)3, there are 76.5 million Filipinos as of year 2000 and a growth rate of 2.36%. Thus, for 2007, the population projection is placed at 86.97 million Filipinos. The main social problem besetting the nation today is poverty and the widening gap between the poor and the rich. In a nationwide survey on people’s perception4 conducted by Ibon Foundation (hereafter referred as Ibon) in October 2007, 74% of the people consider themselves poor, while considering the present situation in the country, and only 20% said otherwise. Reacting to the government claims of economic
improvement, 75% believes that there is no truth to it. In fact, 50% claims that it is worse than the previous year while 43% says it is the same. Two-thirds of the people says that their income is not enough to meet their needs like food, children’s education, water and electricity, and health/medical needs. Forty-three percent says there is no available job or livelihood opportunities and 27% says that if there is any, it is not enough. Moreover, according to Ibon, comparing the data from the government’s 2006 Family Income and Expenditure Survey, poverty increased from 82% in 2003 to 86% in 2006. This underscores the problem of an inequitable economy. The share of the poorest 20% of the country’s families accounted for less than 5% of the country’s total income,
National Statistics Office, QuickStat-October 2007, available from http://www.census.gov.ph, accessed on November 19, 2007. 4 Ibon Foundation, Inc., People’s Economic and Political Perception (January, July and October 2007) Nationwide Survey, available from http://www.ibon.org, accessed on January 24, 2008.
while the top 20% account for almost 53%. In fact, the combined wealth of the 40 richest Filipinos according to Forbes Asia is equal to the total incomes of nearly 60% of Filipino families or about 52 million Filipinos. These figures from Ibon are corroborated by a recent survey conducted from February 21 to March 8, 2008 by Pulse Asia. The survey showed that despite the muchtouted economic gains of the government, nearly six in 10 Filipinos, or 59%, say they are “worse off” now than last year; only 10% consider their situation “better off,” while 31% say there has been no change. Pulse Asia’s March 2008 Ulat ng Bayan Nationwide Survey on the State of the National Economy and Filipino’s Quality of Life also showed that most Filipinos or 66% feel the national economy is in a “worse state” now than it was in 2005; only 11% believe it is better now while 23% think there has been no change. Moreover, the same survey found that 71% or about 12.8 million households consider themselves as “very poor/poor,” almost the same figure recorded in July and October 2007. Seven out of 10 Filipinos (71%) say the national quality of life (QOL) is worse now than it was last year—10% more than the October 2007 figure; only 6% think that there is an improvement and 23% is of the opinion that the QOL has remained the same over the past 12 months.5 In addition, there are 4.1 million jobless Filipinos or an unemployment rate of 10.8%. Moreover, most jobs created in 2007 were in domestic household help, which is the lowest-paying and most insecure job. And according to the 2007 Labor Force Survey6 of the government, 32% of the employed are laborers and unskilled workers and 18.7% are in the agriculture sector. And due to the poor economic and employment
Helen Flores, “Poll: 59% of Pinoys feel worse off now than in 2007,” The Philippine Star, April 1, 2008, News, 4. 6 National Statistics Office, October 2007 Labor Force Survey, available from http://www.census.gov.ph, accessed on January 24, 2008.
condition in the country, one phenomenon in Philippine society is gaining mileage—the widening increase of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). According to NSO, as of 2006, there are now 1.5 million Filipinos working abroad, an increase from just .99 million in 2000, and still growing in numbers. With this, OFW remittances, amounting to US$13 billion in 2006, provide a big share in the country’s economy but with the detriment of the Filipino family. All these figures show that indeed the economic situation of the country is dehumanizing—benefiting more the very few rich and burdening all the more the large poor population. This can be attributed to the government’s misconceived economic reforms and globalization policies, new tax reforms which more benefit the rich, unequal distribution of the country’s resources, unequal ownership of properties especially land, unenforced laws e.g. agrarian reform, an oligarchic power system, prevailing economic structures, widening population growth, continued foreign debt servicing, and environmental abuse. Reinforcing this demeaning economic situation is the corrupt, self-serving and oppressive political condition of the country. Power is concentrated in the hands of a few —the President, the politicians, the big businessmen and the police/military. The poor, though numerous, remains voiceless and are instead subjects of political manipulations. First, there is the problem of patronage-politics and political dynasty as evident in the recent past and new elections. There is an alarming number of political killings, rampant vote-buying and unresolved issues of election fraud which involves the Commission on Election itself. Politicians continue to be self-serving as evidenced by a sudden change in political allegiance, the absence of clear-cut programs of change that would benefit
especially their poor constituents, lacking in consensus on key issues confronting the country etc. There is the continuous unproductive squabble between the Executive and Legislative Branch of the government, between the Senate and Congress or within the individual chambers itself. There are the power-grabbing issues between the majority administration and the minority opposition. All of which are full of self-interests while the welfare of the poor Filipinos are put asunder. Second, there is the issue of corruption from the higher-ups down to the lowest level of government service. There are unresolved issues of corruption to fund political campaigns, to bribe the loyalties of political allies or foes, and those that involve billions of pesos of government deals and contracts. Third, there is the clear and present danger of coup d’etat or destabilization moves and the increasing threats of the non-violent leftist or rightist e.g. labor and farmer groups. There are constant campaigns for reform or welfare laws, opposition on
oppressive laws, change of government leaders etc. Last, but not the least, there is the problem of peace and order. There is the rising number of political killings and forced disappearances, the oppression of the media and on outspoken political foes. There is also the continuous threat of insurgency from the armed leftist groups, the Muslim rebellion in the South, and the global threat of terrorism. All these greatly contribute, directly and indirectly, to the suffering of the poor Filipino people, who remains a voiceless victim of such political situation. However, if the people are to be asked about key issues, the same Ibon survey would show the present political condition: 74% do not favor changing the Constitutions; more than 60% believe
that the military/police are behind the political killings and forced disappearances; 62% are against the Anti-Terror Bill or Human Security Act of 2007; 74% believe that the President, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, engaged in corruption and cheating in the 2004 Election; more than 65% believe that the President, First Gentleman Mike Arroyo and Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos were involved in the anomalous ZTE Broadband Deal with China; 61% wants to remove Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as the country’s President; and 76% of the Filipinos find the performance of the President unsatisfactory. “Ours is a pluralist society and a prime factor of our pluralism is the diversity of our cultural heritage…The differences notwithstanding, we can speak of a generic Philippine culture…there is a common structuring of social relations based on the family and its well-being…Basic values (family itself, loyalty to family, concern for its security, stress on authority and respect for elders, among other things) are supportive of this sociological fact,” according to PCP II.7 It still remains true that the family with its values is the center of social relations in Philippine society. There are other values peculiar to Filipinos which has to be criticized for its negative use or abuse, and to be praised for its positive effect on the society. First, our values tend to be too particularistic, too focused on the good of small social groups e.g. family, clan and tribe. On the positive side, it could foster unity and solidarity but negatively, it encourages divisions or factions e.g. regionalism and nepotism, and indifference on universal concerns e.g. the nation, the world. Such is the case when some Filipinos tend to become indifferent or passive to important issues confronting the nation.
PCP II, 10.
Second, our values are well-rooted on our history of evangelization or Christianization. Filipinos are very religious and the Christian values are handed down from generation to generation. Church leaders greatly influence the people especially in the call for individual moral responsibility in responding to economic and political issues. But the issue of Church leaders being manipulated by politicians could affect the moral ascendancy of the whole Church. Lastly, Filipinos have a high simple literacy rate of 93.4% in 2003 according to NSO. This means that values education may and can play an important role in enriching the positive values of Filipinos, and in correcting those that give wrong signals and are fatal. What is good about our present situation in the Philippines is that there is a growing awareness on the people regarding our economic and political woes. Causeoriented and non-violent groups or organizations are continuously born; they strive to respond to the needs of the people especially the poor and the oppressed; and to organize and empower them. The people gradually participate in criticizing the government and the political system, and challenging them to be more issue-oriented and open to change. At present, according to the Catholic Directory of the Philippines for 2006-2007 8, the Philippine Church has 16 Archdioceses, 56 Dioceses, 6 Prelatures, 7 Apostolic Vicariates, 1 Military Ordinariate and about 3,017 parishes, chaplaincies or mission stations. There are 3 cardinals, 126 bishops (27 of which are Bishop-Emeritus) and, about 6,202 diocesan priests and chaplains. There are 110 men and 310 women Religious
The 2006-2007 Catholic Directory of the Philippines (Quezon City: Claretian Publications,
Congregations or Institutes of Consecrated Life, and 9 Secular Institutes or Lay Associations, or an estimate of 2,576 men and 8,673 women Religious. Based on the 1989 Catholic Directory,9 there were 77 dioceses, 2,192 parishes, 119 bishops, 3,407 diocesan priests and, 60 men and 200 women Religious Congregations or 2,648 men and 9,231 women Religious. It could be noted in the figures above that in a span of 17 years there is a very slight increase in the number of dioceses, prelatures or apostolic vicariates, and an increase of only 27% in parishes. However, there is a 45% increase in diocesan priests and chaplains. With the Religious, although there is a huge increase in the number of men and women congregations, there is a decrease in the number of members. This is continuous cause for concern in the Church since there is an increase of about 33% in the general population of 58 million in 1988. The problem of Church personnel still exist especially with the decrease of Religious mainly due to a low native vocation and the return of foreign missionaries to their home countries. Based on the same Directory, the average percentage of Catholics in the Philippines could be estimated at 79%. It is a decrease from the 83% estimated in 1991 by the Social Weather Station. This can be attributed to the ongoing intense activity, especially with the huge number of poor, by fundamentalists and other sects. Moreover, there is also the continuous concern of the Church on the so-called “nominal Catholics.” On the brighter side, the Filipino faithful still remain loyal and fervent in their faith which is always attributed to the influence of family customs and traditions handed down from generation to generation. What is also commendable about their faith is the motivation to search and deepen in their spirituality as evident by the rise and impact of
PCP II, 286-288.
charismatic or renewal movements in recent times. Noteworthy still is the rich and colorful popular religious practices of fiesta celebrations in honor of their respective patrons, most especially for the Blessed Virgin Mary and Sto. Niño. The Church has now been more aware of the social issues confronting the country. The year 2007 was declared as “A Year of Social Concerns.” Last February 7, 2008, “A Year of Social Engagement” was launched at the Manila Cathedral to intensify a period for intensive engagement in social concerns in the country. “It calls on faith communities, especially those of us in the educational apostolate, to respond to the national situation by addressing issues of social justice, political institutional reform, transparency and accountability, human rights and peace,” Bishop Pabillo said. It was a response to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ pastoral statement, after their 96th Plenary Session on January 27, which states: “We are asking you, our beloved people, to be with us in the moral-spiritual reform of our nation by beginning with ourselves. This is what we need—conversion, real conversion, to put it in terms of our faith, for all of us to deliberately, consciously develop that social conscience that we say we sorely lack and to begin subordinating our private interests to the common good. This conversion is for all of us: laity, religious, priests and bishops…But we have to go about it not only as individuals, but just as importantly, as whole communities. We have to face a common problem and map out deliberately and communally how to go about the work of reform.”10 The laity has now been more involved in the Church in response to the call of Vatican II for lay empowerment. The faithful are continually formed on the important
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the http://www.cbcponline.net, accessed on February 7, 2008.
role of the laity in the Church. This is very much evident with the continuous growth of lay leaders, liturgical groups, mandated organizations and Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs). There is now a growing awareness of being truly Church—that is, a community of disciples—centered on Jesus and living the Gospel values in their everyday life.
B. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish 1. A Brief History The Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish covers the whole area of Veterans Village. The village was named after the veterans, who are members of the World War II Legionnaires of the Philippines, and their families started to live here in 1978. In 1977, Judge Benigno Puno of the Court of the First Instance of Bulacan issued a court order granting the veterans and their families the rightful ownership of the land. However in spite of the said court order, there are other entities who claim ownership of the same land even up to this day. The place of Veterans Village-Area 6 at Barangay Holy Spirit, where the parish is presently situated, is also owned either by the government or a private individual. Since the place is under contention of ownership, demolition of houses frequently occurs. With this situation, the people decided to build chapels, one of which is the Immaculate Conception Chapel at Kapalaran in 1984, to show the demolition group that the people are well-organized and united. The first Eucharist was celebrated here by Fr. Roy Rosales and Fr. Oscar Florencio. The other chapels built here were the Miraculous
Medal Chapel at Marine Road, Resurrection Chapel at Garcia Heights, Fatima Chapel at Capas Road and San Roque Chapel at Panama Road. During the term of Fr. Nestie Gungon as Parish Priest of Holy Spirit Parish, under whose jurisdiction the chapels belong, in 1987, the five chapels were incorporated into one sub-parish under the banner of Immaculate Conception Sub-Parish, which was located at the present parish site at USAFFE Road after the people decided to transfer the chapel to a bigger land area of about 1,000 sq.m. The first Eucharist was celebrated in the new site by Fr. Renato Lopez on November 7, 1987. However, the new and spacious place where the chapel was transferred also caused tensions in the community. The people surrounding the area feared that they will be displaced as the structure of the chapel continues to grow bigger and bigger. This caused the support and financial assistance of the people to dwindle. But in the course of time, the trust of the people was gradually gained and, church activities and projects continued. Through the leadership of the parish priest, the help of some generous members of the sub-parish and from outside the community, the structure of the chapel was gradually built from a rugged and dusty shanty to a concrete-walled church. Church equipments and liturgical materials were added, and, in the year 2000, a three-story building was erected for the office, pastoral center and the priests’ convent. Regular masses were being held every Sunday and the annual feast was celebrated every 8 th of December in honor of the Immaculate Conception, the patroness of the sub-parish.
As the Church life of the faithful progressed and through the direction of the parish priest, mandated organizations e.g. Apostleship of Prayer and Legion of Mary, renewal movements e.g. Couples for Christ and Cursillo, and liturgical groups e.g. Lay Ministers, Lectors/Commentators, Sacristans and Choirs, were organized and established. A Sub-Parish Council was also formed to assist the parish priest in the governance and service of the community. In February 2006, the members of the Religious Congregation of the Sons of Charity met with Most Rev. Antonio Tobias, Bishop of Novaliches, to lay out the plan to put under the pastoral care of the Sons of Charity the Christian community of Immaculate Conception. After a series of meetings and coordination with the Diocese, on the 11th of August 2006, three brothers of the Sons of Charity, Bro. Alvin Balean, Bro. Jhonas Enopia and Bro. Rene Rivera, were sent as a team by the congregation for the pastoral care of the chapel. Likewise, the celebration of the Eucharist, Baptism and other
sacrament/als were entrusted to the priests of the congregation. The primary goal was to prepare the community in becoming a parish. Different meetings, re-organization and formation were undertaken for the said preparation. On December 8, 2006, Bro. Alvin was ordained deacon and on June 15, 2007, he had his presbyteral ordination, all held at the chapel. And on the 17th of June 2007, the Parish of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary was established, which was celebrated by Most Rev. Antonio Tobias, Bishop of the Diocese of
Novaliches. In the same celebration, Fr. Gabriel Goullin, SC was installed as the first Parish Priest and Fr. Alvin Balean as Parochial Vicar. The Sagrada Familia and Sto. Niño Chapels, formerly from the Divine Mercy Parish, and Resurrection Chapel, from Holy Spirit Parish, were also incorporated into the new parish of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
2. Its Geophysical and Demographic Characteristics Geophysical Characteristics. The whole City of Quezon has a land area of
16,112.12 hectares. The city has 142 barangays. Two of which are Barangay Holy Spirit, with a land area of 322 hectares, and Barangay Pasong Tamo with 419.84 hectares. The boundaries of Barangay Holy Spirit are Republic Avenue on the north, Zuzuaregui St. on the south, Commonwealth Avenue on the east and Luzon Avenue on the west. While the boundaries of Barangay Pasong Tamo are Republic Avenue on the north, Congressional Avenue on the south, Luzon Avenue on the east and Visayas Avenue on the West. Veterans Village is situated in these two barangays: Holy Spirit and Pasong Tamo, with an estimated land area of 102 hectares. Its boundaries are Sampaguita Avenue on Mapayapa Village 1 and 2 on the north, North Susana and Bonifacio Villages on the south, Isidora Hills, Kapalaran, Kasiyahan and Kaligtasan Subdivisions on the east, and FEU-Fern on the west. It can be observed that Veterans Village is situated outside and surrounded by rich and high-end subdivisions.
The greater part of the area are residential while a small part are commercial and open land. Majority of the houses are made of concrete with galvanized-iron roofing while a small part are shanties or “makeshift,” specifically those located in depressed and congested areas along Luzon Avenue. Veterans Village is composed of six areas. Areas 1 and 1-B, which has a total land area of 16 hectares, compose the community of Sagrada Familia Chapel. Areas 2, 3, 4, 5 and Nawasa Side, which has a total land area of 36 hectares, compose the community of Sto. Niño Chapel. Area 6, with a total land area of 50 hectares, composes the community of Immaculate Conception and Resurrection Chapel. The land is characterized by some high lands and low lands, specifically the area near the northern part of Luzon Avenue and Nawasa Side where heavy rains would cause floods. Most of the major roads or streets in Veterans Village are concrete or asphalt with proper canals, but some secondary streets are either dilapidated or still rugged with no canal system, which can be very inconvenient and hazardous to the residents. Demographic Characteristics. Barangay Holy Spirit has a total population of 89,456 as of year 2000 while Barangay Pasong Tamo has 65,897 as of 2004. The total population of Veterans Village alone is roughly estimated at 59,018 at present. Barangay Holy Spirit has 19,182 total number of household as of year 2000 while Barangay Pasong Tamo has 28,000 as of 2004.
As reported on their barangay profile, Barangay Holy Spirit listed 7,700 number of families living in depressed areas (comprising 65% of the barangay) while Barangay Pasong Tamo has 40,000 families in depressed areas (comprising 55% of the barangay). Indeed, majority of the population are poor or depressed families and they are found mostly at Veterans Village. Based on the Rapid Community Appraisal11 (hereafter referred to as RCA) conducted by this researcher at Veterans Village on 2,581 respondents, 1,302 are males or 50.5% and 1,279 are females or 49.5%. It can be deduced that males belong to a larger part or at least share equally with females in the population. As to the age bracket, 11% are children ages 6 years and below, 27% are children between 7 to 12 years old, 11% are teenagers between 13 to 18 years old, 32% are young adults ages 19 to 39, 15% are between ages 40 to 60, and 4% are 61 years old and above. With this, we can deduce that majority or a total of 49% belongs to the young population (those 18 years old below). On the number of persons per house, 48.4% has 1 to 5 persons; 46% has 6 to 10 members; and 5.6 % with more than 10 persons. With this, we can also deduce that majority or a total of 51.6% are living in crowded homes (with more than 6 members).
3. The Economic, Political and Cultural Background
Jhonas Enopia, SC et.al., “Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish Rapid Community Appraisal,” Inter-Congregational Theological Center, 2007.
In general, Barangay Holy Spirit is economically
classified as Class C and B while Barangay Pasong Tamo is Class B-2 or middle class. Based on the RCA of Veterans Village, the percentage of the total monthly income of families earning below P3,000.00 is 16%; between P3,000.00 to P5,000.00 is 25%; between P5,001.00 to P8,000.00 is 20%; between P8,001.00 to P10,000.00 is 14%; and 25% for those earning more than P10,000.00. Thus, majority or a total of 75% or more are earning below the poverty threshold of P14,866 placed by NSO for 2007 or even below the minimum wage requirement for NCR. Indeed, majority are poor families. There are different kinds of work, which is the main source of living that the people engage in. Some are government employees while others are employed in private companies. Some are small entrepreneurs of sari-sari store, internet or computer shop, carinderia, beauty parlor or barber shop, automotive repair shop, bakery, water refilling station, pharmacy, and house or room rentals. Others are medium or big-scale
entrepreneurs of repacking factories, hardwares, construction or contractor business, junkshop, transport business, pre- or elementary schools, funeral parlor, to name a few. There are two small markets (“talipapa”) in the area, where others are vendors of fish, meat, vegetables and fruits. Many are also selling RTWs, ukay-ukay, house or kitchen wares and, school supplies and toys. delicacies. There are also a good number of tricycle and taxi operators and drivers, and men who work, in permanent or temporary basis, as carpenters, painters, plumbers or electricians. Others are selling Pinoy food and
There are also a good number of family members who work abroad as seaman, nurse, entertainers, domestic helpers etc. whether in Japan, Middle East, America and Europe. In general, most of the people living here belong to the labor force or the working class. It is also observable that there are a good number of unemployed people in the area. Political Background. Since Veterans Village is situated between two barangays, it is governed by two political leaders namely: Ma. Victoria Co-Pilar, re-elected
Barangay Captain of Pasong Tamo, and Estrella Valmocina, wife of the former three-term Barangay Captain of Holy Spirit. During the Barangay Election held last October 2007, where voters’ turnout was good, both leaders, including their council, got the majority and landslide victories in their respective political jurisdiction. This can be attributed to their remarkable and effective programs and projects conducted in the area such as garbage collection/management, building of schools, health/day care centers, parks and recreation/sports facilities, construction and repair of roads and canals, housing projects thru the Community Mortgage Program (CMP) and People’s Housing Alternative and Social Empowerment-Land Acquisition Development (PHASE-LAD), different
livelihood programs especially for women e.g. Entrepinay, and peace and order programs thru the Barangay Security and Development Office (BSDO). There is a remarkable and noticeable peace and order in the area, though there are still remote cases of drug addicts, holduppers, amok and gang/neighbor fights etc., due to the establishment of barangay posts in different strategic locations, the immediate
response of barangay tanods/police and the cooperation of the leaders of the different area/purok/community organizations. There is also the presence of two police (PNP) sub-stations, one located in the area (Pasong Tamo) and another just nearby (Holy Spirit). With the result of the recent Barangay Election, it can be seen that politics here is characterized by patronage-politics and dynasty, but, on the otherhand, the elected leaders are effective and efficient in their governance, which probably gave them an upper hand in winning the votes of the people. Cultural Background. Based on the RCA, the usual number of family members living in one household is between 1 to 5 with 48.4%, but 6 to 10 members comes close at 46%, and 11 above with only 5.6%. Those families with more than five members actually do not only compose of the immediate members but including “extended” ones e.g. grandparents, in-laws, relatives etc. Thus, it can be deduced that majority or a total of 51.6% of the families still practice strong family ties or kinship. Most of the families living here have stayed for more than 10 years with 59% while only 35% have stayed here 10 years below but more than a year. This shows that some are transients while majority are permanent residents of the area who are likewise considered as the original dwellers, beneficiaries or direct descendants of the war veterans. However, majority of the people still came from the countryside whether from the Northern, Tagalog, Visayan or Mindanao regions. This illustrates the different languages or dialect, other than Tagalog, spoken by the people like Ilocano, Ilonggo, Bicolano,
Bisaya etc. Likewise, this shows the multi-cultural or multi-ethnic characteristic of the community. When it comes to education, 37% have either finished, studied or are still in college, 31% in high school, 20% in elementary and 1% in vocational school. Three percent are in pre-schools. And only 8% accounts for those who have never been in school. This shows that majority of the people are literate. However, this also shows that only 37% have reached the college level, which is usually the minimum requirement for employment opportunity nowadays. There are a good number of private pre- and elementary schools in the area like St. Andrew Academy, Holy Rosary School, Mustard School, JEC Christian School etc. A public elementary school, Holy Spirit Elementary School, of more than 7,000 students is also situated in the area. A public high school, just adjacent to the elementary school, is still under construction. The presence of these schools in the area provides more
opportunities for the children to acquire proper education without having to travel or commute. When it comes to religion, 95% turn out to be Roman Catholics, 4.6% are either Protestant, Iglesia ni Cristo, Baptist, Aglipay, Pentecostal, Born Again etc. and, 0.4% are Muslims. There are 5 Catholic churches/chapels, 2 Iglesia ni Cristo, 4 Baptist, 6 either Born Again, Korean church or Adventist, and 1 Muslim mosque found in the area. The big number of Catholics in the area poses a great challenge for the Church to respond to all, or at least majority, of them. The presence of other religion and denomination also provides the opportunity for ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue.
4. The Ecclesial Background The Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish (hereafter referred to as HJMP) was canonically erected last June 17, 2007. It is under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Diocese of Novaliches with Most Rev. Antonio Tobias as its Bishop. The Parish Priest is Fr. Gabriel Goullin, SC and Fr. Alvin Balean, SC is the Parochial Vicar. There are three sub-parishes (Resurrection of Christ Chapel, Sagrada Familia Chapel and Sto. Niño Chapel) and one chapel (Miraculous Medal Chapel) that are under the care of the parish. There are 15 established kawans or Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC) Core Groups—eight located at Sagrada Familia Cluster and another seven at Sto. Niño Cluster, which were previously under the Lord of the Divine Mercy Parish. The community of Immaculate Conception, where the mother parish is situated, is also classified or organized into about 20 streets with street coordinators assigned in each street, which will also be organized as kawans or BEC cells in the near future. There are daily Masses (except Monday, day-off) celebrated in the parish with three Masses scheduled on Sundays. A novena-Mass is celebrated on Tuesdays for the Divine Mercy devotion and on Wednesdays for the Mother of Perpetual Help devotion. Eucharistic Adoration is held every first Friday of the month and a novena for the Sacred Heart of Jesus. An aurora procession and novena are also held every first Saturday of the month in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In fact, there are a growing number of
devotees on the Divine Mercy, Mother of Perpetual Help, Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The church is usually filled during Sunday Mass but only a few are faithful on weekdays. Based on the RCA, only 73.6% of the people attend Mass either in the main church or in the chapels. The rest prefer to go to Mass in the nearby parishes or other big churches in Manila. Others claim that they still do not know what parish they belong, especially those who came from another parish and were integrated with HJMP, or they do not know where the new parish church is located. This calls for an information drive so that the people will be aware as to what parish they belong and for visible signages to be placed in strategic locations to assist the people in locating the new parish. The feast day of the parish, in honor of its patron and patroness, is celebrated on the Sunday after the feasts of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It is usually preceded with a nine-day novena-Mass and procession. There is an unusual air of joy and festivity during the feast day and a remarkable active participation of the lay. The different sub-parishes have a regular Sunday Mass. Their feast days are preceded by a triduum novena-Mass and a procession. The Miraculous Medal Chapel, on otherhand, only has a feast day Mass and is scheduled for Mass every other month only. There is also a growing number of faithful coming from the sub-parishes and chapel who attend Mass and participate in liturgical activities in the main parish church. Important seasons, feasts and solemnities in the Church calendar, e.g. Advent, Christmas, Simbang Gabi, Lent, Christ the King, Immaculate Conception and especially
Holy Week, are also vigorously celebrated in the parish with different liturgical celebrations and activities. There is a wide, huge and active participation by the faithful, old and young alike, usually on these occasions. Regular catechism for children is conducted every Sunday before the 4 o’clock children’s Mass in the afternoon by volunteer catechists of the parish. There is one professional catechist from the diocese and two others from the parish who do catechism classes at Holy Spirit Elementary School. Catechism before Baptism, Marriage,
Confirmation and First Communion are also being given by the catechists. Some of the volunteer catechists are presently undergoing formation classes with the diocese. Different formation seminars for some liturgical groups and for parish lay leaders, and parish recollections were also conducted by the Sons of Charity team administering the parish. The parish engaged in different social services like collection of relief goods for calamity victims of Bicol, participation as volunteer caregivers/workers in the Diocesan Person-with-Disability (PWD) Day, feeding of children, Christmas gift-giving for indigent families, etc. Members of the Committee on Social Services also actively assist the parish in providing any valuable service in the different parish activities. They also underwent training for the Feeding Program of the diocese, though the said program has not yet been implemented in the parish. There still remains a lot to be done in this ministry to be able to respond to the growing social needs of the parish, which also has to be clearly identified. On the otherhand, the parish strives to support and be one with all the social service programs of the diocese.
The parish recognizes the presence of a lot of youth in the area. The parish has now formed the Parish Youth Council (PYC), which is now gradually being integrated into the vicariate and diocesan level. At present, this newly formed ministry still has no programs or projects for the youth, and still has to reach out to more youths. Another newly formed ministry is the Family Life Apostolate (FLA). The parish recognizes the orientation of the Philippine Church to focus on the evangelization of families. At present, a couple appointed as coordinators for the said ministry is
undergoing formation at the diocesan level. Thus, the FLA ministry has no programs and projects yet. The parish also recognizes the orientation of the Church in organizing and forming Basic Ecclesial Communities to reach out the “grassroot level” or “to bring the Church” to the smallest level of the community. At present, there are 15 kawans or BEC Core Groups in the communities or clusters of Sagrada Familia and Sto. Niño. These kawans were actually organized by the Lord of the Divine Mercy Parish, where they previously belong, before being integrated into the Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish. Street/Kawan Masses were held every other month, alternately in these two clusters. As reflected on the RCA, the people recognize this Mass as one of the activities of the parish that has reached their end although the parish still needs to meet the demands of the regularity of these street Masses. Other than the regular practice of the Balik-Handog Program, there is also no clear and specific program being done in the kawans. At present, said kawans are in the process of re-organization due to the absence of active leaders in some kawans and the need to re-implement the BEC program from the beginning.
There is the presence of different liturgical groups, mandated organizations and renewal movements in the parish. The liturgical groups are the Extraordinary Ministers of the Holy Eucharist (lay ministers), Ministry of the Word (lectors and commentators), acolytes (sacristans), choirs (4 groups), and usherettes/basket collectors. The mandated organizations are Legion of Mary (2 senior presidia and one junior presidium), Apostleship of Prayer, Divine Mercy Apostolate Group and Mother Butler. The renewal movements are Couples for Christ, El Shaddai and Cursillo. All these groups have a formal organization. However, some of them still need some personal or spiritual
formation, and still have to create concrete programs and projects. On the otherhand, all these groups are very cooperative and their presence is very instrumental in the implementation of the different activities and projects of the parish. The Parish Pastoral Council provides a very important role in the parish. The lay leaders were carefully and discreetly elected in a general assembly thus they gained the full support of the community. It is composed of a mixture of prominent, learned, experienced and capable leaders, and a representation from different sectors and groups. However, efforts are still to be exerted in assuring that lowly and simple leaders are given equal opportunity in the different aspects of leadership and management. The whole council is very cooperative and united in ensuring the success of all activities and projects of the parish. On the otherhand, the council still has to come up with a concrete and systematized pastoral plan for the parish. When it comes to finance, the parish is in a “break even” condition. However, the community is gradually being supportive of the financial needs of the parish both in its management and in its pastoral projects. Much effort still has to be exerted in forming
the people with regard to “stewardship” or the responsibility of each one as members in supporting the needs of the Church. On the otherhand, the parish has implemented the Balik-Handog Program or the “modified tithing system.” The people are to share part of their income, but any amount, every month for the support of the Church and after a year, or when the program has reached a level of sufficiency, the Sacraments, other than the Eucharist, and sacramentals will be made available for them without the stole fees. The program primarily aims to make the people aware of the “blessings” imparted by the Lord—the sole Owner and Giver, their responsibility in supporting the needs of the Church and the values of solidarity. The program is slowly showing signs of success and greatly helps in meeting the financial needs of the parish. In fact, based on the RCA, it is this program that most of the people named as the one that has reached their end. When it comes to the pastors, based on the RCA, only 71% of the people know them either in a personal capacity or in mere recognition. This then poses as a challenge for the pastors to make themselves known to the people, in spite of their number compared to the total population, either through a simple gesture of being approachable and available to the people or through house-to-house/community visitations. In this way, the relationship between the pastors and the parishioners will be more amicable. On the otherhand, the people are very happy of the presence of the pastors in the area which, as they say, greatly helped in their being a community-Church and in the development of their spiritual life.
C. Challenges for Today
Looking at the signs of the times—the socio-economic, political, cultural and ecclesial realities prevailing in the country and the Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish, in particular, the Church needs to act on these three priority challenges in its pastoral ministry: 1) to respond to the dehumanizing social problems of poverty and economic inequality; political instability, abuse and corruption; and moral degradation; 2) promote inculturation and, personal and communal transformation; and 3) encourage active lay participation especially through the building of BECs. First, when we look deeper into the society we live in today, nobody could deny the fact that the main social concern is the worsening poverty experienced by the majority. Looking for food, sending the children to school, paying for electricity and water, and meeting health needs have become more difficult day after day. More so, many of the people do not have work or are underemployed. The main cause or what contributes more to this situation is the widening gap between the very few rich and very numerous poor. Economic inequality is at its worse. What makes it worst is the
government’s policy of economic reform that favors more the rich and influential, and burdens the poor all the more. Moreover, it has a lot to do with politics. Corruption in all levels of government is prevalent. Billions of pesos are lost to corrupt leaders and officials which could have been fruitfully used to help alleviate the miseries of the poor majority. This, plus the countless cases of abuses and killings perpetuated by the government against those who openly criticize them, has lead to political instability in the country. In the whole country, as it is in the political arena, the people are either divided or confused whether to support the majority administration or the growing number of oppositionists. Added to these is
the patronage system of politics brought about by such negative values in utang na loob (debt of gratitude) and, in close family ties or particularism that leads to the likes of nepotism. The worsening poverty and political problem reinforce the sad fact of moral degradation in society. The people tend to dwell on the death-dealing aspects of values and culture rather than being life-giving. The people tend to lose sight of what is right and what is wrong. And all these three inter-related social concerns taken together, the Church is faced with a huge task to respond to this challenge as evident by its continuous call to be active agents of change in society. Second, as what PCP II (#206) says, “Inculturation requires evangelizers to immerse themselves in the cultural milieu of those to whom they are sent. It requires evangelizers to understand, appreciate, foster and evangelize the culture of the people while equipping themselves to communicate effectively with it.” The Philippine society is pluralistic due to its being multi-culture or multi-ethnic. Everywhere people are
grouped ethnically but united as one community. This is seen especially in the urbanized areas in Metro Manila, where most of the people actually came from the countryside. They brought with them not only an extended family but also their language, customs and traditions. In the Church, this has remained a challenge—to unite culture and evangelization. In our pastoral ministry, the culture of the people always has to be taken into account and more so for those who are foreign missionaries. This is vital for personal and communal transformation. This other call would fall on deaf ears unless inculturation is made
possible. The call for conversion—personal and communal—has to be reconciled with the people’s customs and traditions; to encourage what is positive e.g. folk or popular religiosity, and to let go of those that are not synonymous with Gospel values. Last, but not the least, the call of Vatican II for lay empowerment still remains a challenge for the Church even until this day. Filipinos tend to be “clerical” in spite of the fact that alongside with the alarming growth in the general population, there is a shortage of priests to administer and minister the flock. Moreover, the number of Religious and other Church personnel is not enough to meet the demand of the needs of the faithful. It is matter of making the laity fully aware of Christ’s call for them and their vital role in the Church. Thereafter, it is empowering them with the right knowledge, training and skills to perform their tasks. It is also a challenge, especially in the Philippine Church, to make more men active in the works of the Church. Likewise, it is important to continue empowering the family, the women and the youth, who accounts for a greater part of the population. The best way to empower the laity is through the building and formation of BECs. It is the new way of being Church, where the laity takes hold of their small Christian community and all the ministries therein. According to PCP II (Art.112), “The laity should be mobilized to participate in the task of evangelization and look upon BECs as a means of evangelization.” These are the signs of the times, which the Church is faced with today. These are the signs of the times, which the Church ought to respond in all urgency.
CHAPTER III FR. JEAN-EMILE ANIZAN’S PASTORAL CHARITY
In this chapter, we will look into how Fr. Jean-Emile Anizan lived his life, characterized by charity, from birth up to his death. We will see how some people and
events influenced his life, how he lived his faith-life, how he values his relationship with God-Jesus, how he loved the poor and the workers, how he faced the different challenges in some periods in his life, how he built the Sons of Charity, and we will also take a glimpse at some of his writings. Second, we will look into the Congregation of the Sons of Charity that Fr. Anizan gave birth. Third, we will also look into the presence and mission of the Sons in the Philippines. And lastly, we go through Fr. Anizan’s concept of pastoral charity as expressed in some significant moments in his life and in his writings.
A. The Founder and the Congregation 1. Life and Works Jean-Emile Anizan was born on January 6, 1853 in Artenay, a small village near Orleans, France. His father, who is a doctor, is Jean and his mother, who works in the village post office, is Eulalie. He has two older sisters, named Marie and Leonide, and a younger brother, called Jules. He earned his primary education at the elementary school in his village. At age 9, he enters Sainte-Croix (Holy Cross) College, a minor seminary, at Orleans. At 13, in May of 1866, he received his First Communion—an experience which will touch him profoundly. At this moment, he did not yet consider entering the
priesthood but begins to discover the love of Jesus, whom he considers a close and faithful companion, and to develop an intimate relationship by calling Him, “My Jesus, my sweet Jesus.” Of this experience he writes in his retreat notebook, “Ah! Yes I want to keep you in my heart as long as possible!”
On April 23, 1871, at 18, he joined the Conference of St. Vincent de Paul—a small group of youths and adults who regularly visit the poorest families of the area, and inspired by the life and teachings of St. Vincent de Paul. Anizan discovers in the poor neighborhood the difficulties of the families of workers and the existence of many poor. These visits make him realize the need for a popular apostolate according to the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul. At this time, Anizan was not yet fully aware of the present situation beleaguering the workers—the ideals of the Workers’ Movement and of the 1848 Revolution, and the heinous events of the Paris Commune, where about 30,000 workers were killed and 10,000 others condemned to death—but his discovery of St. Vincent de Paul will mark his life. In March of 1871, the working people of Paris took over the whole city with some support from the military and the workers’ leaders. This was known as the Commune de Paris. After some months of resistance, the military loyal to the Republic attacked the capital and in May 1871 occurred the “bloody week,” which caused many deaths, executions and exiles. Likewise during these times, he also gradually noticed the gap that exists between the Church and the people. At this moment, he was still uncertain of his vocation, asking himself as he writes: “What must I do? Should I be a priest, a military or civil doctor, or a soldier?” He contemplated on being a soldier to help free Pope Pius IX, who was being held captive by the group of an Italian nationalist named Garibaldi. In spite of his doubts, but with the prodding of Bishop Dupanloup of the Diocese of Orleans, Anizan enters the St. Sulpice Seminary at Issy-les-Moulineaux near Paris in
September 1872. He enters the seminary through obedience to his spiritual director but he will go through a crisis of discouragement. These are the elements and events that lead Anizan to the priesthood and to religious life. First, it is his faithfulness to the spiritual exercises as a seminarian, his dialogue with his spiritual director, and prayer, which he sees as “a conversation with God, source of light and strength for one’s self and for the people. The priest is another Jesus Christ; he must give glory to God and peace to mankind. Prayer is the sinews of priestly life.” Inside the seminary, some concern for the apostolate of popular neighborhoods is starting little by little. The Commune de Paris had impressed professors and students alike. Many are asking themselves: How can the people of the poor areas of Paris be reached? Many priests, in and outside Paris, are discouraged. A seminarian was killed by a firing squad on March 26, 1871 together with Father Planchat and some forty hostages! All these events happening around him indeed influenced Anizan’s life. During the summer of 1873, Anizan read about the life of Sr. Rosalie, a Daughter of Charity who had worked intensely for the evangelization of the people of the Paris 13th Borough. Her life also influenced Anizan to dedicate his life to God and, the small and afflicted people. The following year, a visit to a gas factory in Issy will mark his life deeply. While contemplating on the poor workers, he experienced a genuine love for them, whom he deemed “unfortunate and abandoned.”
Through a book entitled “The Life of Father Planchat,” Anizan knew about the Brothers of St. Vincent de Paul. He went to visit some Paris neighborhoods where the Brothers of St. Vincent de Paul work. Little by little Anizan discovers his vocation and wants to be a religious at the service of the poor. Now freed from all his doubts, he wanted to become a Brother of St. Vincent de Paul. In September 1874, at 21, he wrote to Bishop Dupanloup of Orleans, saying: “God has granted me the desire for religious life…He has conceded me a passion for the poor and the workers. My greatest desire is to dedicate all my activity and all my life to the evangelization of those unfortunates who are always despised…God has inspired me to join the Brothers of St. Vincent de Paul.” Unfortunately, Bishop Dupanloup gave a negative answer. He wanted Anizan to be ordained for his diocese. So Anizan continued his formation from 1874-1877. He, however, continued with his contacts with persons and movements interested by the evangelization of the working people. On December 22, 1877, Anizan was ordained a priest at St. Sulpice Parish in Paris. Bishop Dupanloup sent him to Olivet, a small village just outside Orleans, as a Parish Vicar. The years between 1878 and 1886 have been difficult years—a time of darkness and struggle—for Fr. Anizan due to his continuous desire to enter religious life and to give himself in service to the poor. In 1885, he wrote: “When I meet a laborer, adult or child, if he only knew what I feel for him…I have love and sympathy for him.” Seeing the new situation and listening to such a desperate cry, the new bishop of Orleans gave him the permission to leave the diocese. Right then in June 1886, he wrote
to the Superior of the Brothers of St. Vincent de Paul, saying: “How I rejoice in giving myself entirely to God and to the disinherited of this world.” In November 1886, Fr. Anizan began his novitiate in the Brothers of St. Vincent de Paul at the Vaugirard neighborhood of Paris. During his first year of novitiate, the master of novices introduced them to the spirit and doctrine of St. Vincent de Paul, to the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola and to the practice of popular apostolate, with the reading of different biographies of “apostles of the people” like Sr. Rosalie, Timon David, Lallemand etc. On October 31, 1887, in the second year of novitiate, he was sent as chaplain at St. Anne Charity in Charonne, one of the poorest neighborhoods of Paris, a large workers’ sector of 350,000 people who are victims of unjust labor conditions. St. Anne Charity is a so-called “charities chapel” with a youth center. The center has a great reputation but, at that time, a little sluggish. The only activity which is working well is the patronage or aid. Likewise it conducts sports and non-religious activities for about 500 to 600 youths. It provides religious formation like daily prayers and conferences, preparation for the reception of Sacraments and recollections. Fr. Anizan was engaged in all these activities with three other companions. But he was not satisfied with this kind of mission that caters only to the youth. So Fr. Anizan went to visit this very poor sector house-to-house and day-after-day. He gave special attention to the sick and the poorest of the poor. In order to respond more efficiently to the needs of these people, he organized and formed different “solidarity” groups among these poor families and the Committee of the Good, a group of
men and women committed to help others with great difficulties. Fr. Anizan believes that “the poor and the workers must become apostles of the poor and the workers.” He also discovered in this sector a good number of small businesses. So he encouraged and actively participated as Chaplain in the founding of the first Union of Catholic Workers. Fr. Anizan formed simple communities, a kind of “barrio chapel,” which he called “the Holy Family,” in order to reach out to families that were very far from the Church. He made it sure that the different activities were animated by the poor and the workers themselves. The goal of Fr. Anizan and his companions was always to facilitate the return of those considered “lost sheep” to the Church. At 34, Fr. Anizan discovered that it is worthwhile to live in a poor area. According to some Sons of Charity who have known him well, those six years he spent in Charonne were perhaps the happiest of his life. On December 8, 1888, Fr. Anizan pronounced his temporary vows in the Vaugirard chapel. In 1894, Fr. Anizan sadly left Charonne after being chosen as First Assistant of the Brothers of St. Vincent de Paul. During this time, he suffered in not being of direct contact with the poor people, whom he has learned to love dearly. In 1898, he was named Vice-President of the Union of Catholic Workers of France. On September 29, 1907, he was elected General Superior of the congregation. Fr. Anizan has an immense apostolic life. In spite of the enormous responsibilities he has to undertake, he continued to give recollections and conferences to poor communities.
Occasionally, he left the General House to visit the sick and the poor families, and to support one of the Union of Catholic Workers, where he remained as Chaplain. He also strongly supported and worked for the development of the Union des Oeuvres, or the Union of Pastoral Activities, and insisted more in its pastoral vocation to the poor. In order to develop a “national pastoral solidarity” in this mission, he visited many parishes, seminaries and dioceses. Moreover, during this time, he gave personal pastoral care to some youth in the military service, whom he believed were very alone and abandoned both morally and spiritually. However, his passion for the working world and for the disinherited will give him strength and hope to move ahead with an evangelization project that will bring a violent rejection from some of his brothers in the congregation. On January 22, 1914, denunciations by some members of the congregation lead to Fr. Anizan’s deposition as General Superior by Vatican. During Pius X’s pontificate, the so-called “modernism” was condemned. Fr. Anizan was accused of “social modernism” because he had supported the creation of some labor unions that were judged nonCatholic. These were the painful times of his life, which lead to his most significant retreat in March 1914 in a Carthusian monastery in Pleterje, Austria (now Slovenia) with his spiritual director, Fr. Dom Pollien. It was in this retreat that the idea to found a new religious congregation was first conceived. However, the First World War broke in on August 3, 1914. Thus on August 6, 1914, Fr. Anizan left for Verdun, Damloup, in Eastern France near the German border, as a volunteer military chaplain. During 18 months, at the risk of his own life, he helps the soldiers to overcome hate and desperation through the Sacrament of Penance, caring for
the wounded and praying for the dead. On December 1, 1914, in his letter to one of his bestfriends, he said: “I have offered myself to become a true Son of Charity. But I thirst in becoming genuinely so and in the full extent of the word.” This is the first time that he used the term “Son of Charity” before the foundation of the congregation. On January 28, 1915, he wrote: “My heart belongs, after God, to the forsaken, the disinherited of this world, to those who lack support, affection, consolation…” These 18 months in the midst of the horrible holocaust would confirm his will to found a new religious family whose goal would be the evangelization of the poorest, inspired by charity and compassion, and always having in mind the concrete and real needs of the people. In February 1916, the doctors recommended his return to Paris due to pneumonia. In October, he was instead assigned as pastor of Notre-Dame Auxiliatrice Parish, a workers’ neighborhood, at Clichy, on the outskirt of Paris. It was here that Fr. Anizan prepared the groundwork for the new Religious congregation. On December 25, 1918, the Congregation of the Sons of Charity was born, with the authorization of Pope Benedict XV and of the Cardinals of Paris. Pope Benedict XV was considered a “co-founder” of the congregation because it was he who advised Fr. Anizan to found a new congregation and gave the name “Sons of Charity. With this development, Fr. Anizan felt vindicated on the false charges hurled against him that lead to his deposition. On June 1, 1919, some twenty priests and brothers, who were Fr. Anizan’s former companions who also left the Brothers of St. Vincent de Paul, began their novitiate. And on June 1, 1920, there were eighteen new Sons of Charity who made their first profession
together with Fr. Anizan. profession on June 11, 1922.
The second novitiate followed and ultimately had their
On December 8, 1925, Fr. Anizan published a circular letter entitled “Our Triple Ideal,” which outlined the vocation of the Sons of Charity—that is, call to holiness, apostolic fruitfulness and evangelization of the poor and the workers through Charity. In 1926, Fr. Anizan fell ill and began to suffer from neuritis, a very painful illness that inflames the nervous system. Still with great internal vigor, he took part in co-founding, with Sr. Therese Joly, the women’s Religious congregation of the Auxiliaries of Charity on December 15, 1926. In the rectory of Good Shepherd Parish on Charonne Street, in peace, in spite of much suffering, Fr. Anizan joined his Master and Creator in the early morning of May 1, 1928.12
2. The Sons of Charity The Sons of Charity was founded on December 25, 1918. It is a Religious congregation (of Pontifical Right) of priests and brothers with Fr. Jean-Emile Anizan as its founder. The name “Sons of Charity,” given by Pope Benedict XV, does not refer to the virtue of charity but as Sons of God, who is Charity Himself. At present, based on the General Superior’s Report in preparation for the 2006 General Chapter (by Fr. Jose Miguel Sopeña, re-elected General Superior), there are 188 members scattered on the five continents (Europe, South and North America, Africa and
Joseph Rodier, SC, trans. by Lorenzo Lortie,SC., A Spirituality for Our Times: Emile AnizanFounder of the Sons of Charity (Paris: 2001).
Asia) or in 12 countries (France, Spain, Portugal, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Ivory Coast, D.R. Congo, Congo and Philippines). France alone accounts for 55% of the Sons with 104 members but France has an average age of 74 years old. There are a total of 51 young men in formation. According to Fr. Anizan himself, based on the Commentaries of the First Constitution of the Sons of Charity,13 “the glory of God, that is the great purpose of the Institute, purpose wanted by God…by the Holy Church…by those to whom God has inspired its foundation. Our sanctification, our salvation and that of the souls are goals to be sought, but secondary. Its special purpose is the evangelization of the popular and poor class through pastoral ministry and works of mercy, in workers’ parishes erected in conformity with canonical rules, without prejudice to other social and charitable institutions and charities, aimed at supporting and completing their apostolic action.” Most of the Sons are situated as pastors in urban poor parishes while the rest are into youth and workers’ movement, hospital and prison chaplaincy, diocesan ministry, social services ministry and as worker-priests. The 2006 General Chapter of the Sons of Charity, held last July 9-23, 2006 at Issy-les-Moulineaux in France, stressed the theme, “The Urgency of Charity” in the world today. The document of the same title states, “The Chapter invites all Sons to deepen and to share in their teams their experience of God’s love…The Chapter invites all Sons to deepen, to share and to update their pastoral charity in the image of the Good Shepherd. What does pastoral charity look like today in the places where we live and in our different cultural and religious contexts? How do we formulate it? What urgent
Fr. Jean-Emile Anizan, SC, trans. by Lorenzo Lortie, SC, Commentaries of the First Constitutions of the Sons of Charity (Paris: 2006), 1.
pastoral and apostolic initiatives does it reveal to us? ...The Chapter invites all Sons to review, both personally and in teams, the status of our fraternity within our common mission.” These three calls reaffirm the three basic axes of their vocation—that is, being men of God-Charity, being apostles and pastors of the poor, and being men of charity in fraternal community. The Chapter likewise reaffirmed the mission that the founder handed down from generation to generation “to be together as shepherds and apostles of inventive and multifaceted charity among the workers and the poor, in the manner of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who went about evangelizing the crowds.”
3. Presence in the Philippines The Sons of Charity had been in the Philippines since 1991. Fr. Joseph Bouchaud was the first Son to settle at the squatter area of Laura-Villa Beatriz-Kaligtasan in Old Balara, Quezon City. However, it was only during the 1994 General Chapter that the official decision was made for the foundation of the Sons in the Philippines with the sending of Fr. Gabriel Goullin in 1995 to assist Fr. Bouchaud. The Sons, while living in the squatter area itself, helped organize Christian communities, form chapel leaders and build chapels. Other pastoral activities include the regular celebration of the Eucharist, other Sacraments and sacramentals, formation of the lay, catechism, organization of Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC), house visitations and special ministries for the youth, the elderly and the family, to name a few. In 1997, they began a Health Program, which includes medical, dental, psychological and therapy services, affordable medicines (including herbal medicines) and formation of community
health workers, to respond to the immense and urgent health needs of the people in the area. A Scholarship Program, in all school levels, was established to cater to those youth who want to finish school yet poverty prevents them to do so. A Livelihood Program was also created to help unemployed mothers earn additional income for their families. Formation of Filipino Sons began with the first Postulancy in June 1997. Years after, houses of formation were created at Barangka, Marikina for the Novitiate and scholastics, and in Laura, Old Balara for the Pre-postulancy and Postulancy. In April 2001, the first Novitiate in the Philippines was opened. And on April 27, 2002, the first Filipino Sons of Charity, namely Alvin Balean and Arnel Bodota, had their temporary profession. On August 11, 2006, the Sons, with the new team of Balean, Jhonas Enopia and Rene Rivera, acquired a new pastoral area at Veterans Village, Holy Spirit, Quezon City. The new community was canonically erected as the Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish on June 17, 2007. Other than parish administration, various pastoral activities were initiated like community organizing; formation of lay leaders, mandated organizations, renewal movement and liturgical groups; celebration of Sacraments and sacramentals; catechism, social services and special ministries for the youth and children; and BECs. On February 17, 2008, the community of Laura-Villa Beatriz-Kaligtasan was canonically erected as the Jesus of Nazareth Parish, which has 5 chapels or Christian communities under its care. At present there are 3 French Sons in the Philippines (Jean-Jacques Bruneau, Local Superior, Vocation Animator and Director of Pre-Postulancy/Postulancy; Gabriel Goullin, Novice Master and Parish Priest of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish; and
Daniel Godefroy, Parish Priest of the Jesus of Nazareth Parish), 2 Filipino perpetual professed (Alvin Balean, Parochial Vicar of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish; and Arnel Bodota, Health Program Director), 2 Filipino temporary professed (Jhonas Enopia and Rene Rivera, assigned at the Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish), 4 novices (Necerel Tomboc, Ramil Mangaser, Rommel Darondon and Richard Belga) and 3 postulants (Christopher Labrador, Bryan Peralta and Gil Dasalla).
B. Concept of Pastoral Charity As early as thirteen years old, during his First Communion in 1866, Fr. Anizan spoke of “the mystery of the Love, life and glory of Jesus.” In some prayers in 1873, he wrote, “My very beloved Jesus, my divine brother…How much I love you my God, my Love!” Young Anizan experienced a privileged relationship with Jesus, whom he
considered a close, ever-present and faithful friend. On June 10, 1876, during his retreat before his subdiaconate, he wrote: “I have a passion…That passion is the love for Jesus Christ. I have to impregnate my life with that love.” And it was during his retreat, a vicar then at Olivet, in 1882 that Fr. Anizan first spoke of God’s Charity saying, “Jesus is love.” He continued to reflect on this reality in 1884 by saying in a prayer, “Christ’s charity is kindness, generosity; dedicated, touching, suffering and infinite love. It calls one to happiness, to love and to holiness.” It was in his retreat in 1886, after the Bishop finally allowed him to be a Religious, that Fr. Anizan expressed the unity of the two aspects of love. While
meditating on the passion and resurrection of Christ, he was moved by Jesus’ “pure love.” Thus he decided to “love God with a limitless love, with the most perfect love” and to
become by vocation “the instrument of love” and “the slave of the people.” He said, “My heart will be entirely given to God, and, for God, entirely given to the orphans, the poor and the forsaken.” In the great tradition of St. Vincent de Paul and of Fr. Le Prevost, founder of the Brothers of St. Vincent de Paul, Fr. Anizan gave the full meaning of the term “Caridad” as “a passion for God and for the people, a passion for the poor and the workers.” Fr. Le Prevost stressed that “God is the God of charity”, that the spirit of the congregation would be “the spirit of charity” and that its members would be men “of true charity.” He proclaimed the primacy of charity and that same charity inspired Fr. Anizan to love the people, most especially the poor. In a circular letter to the Brothers of St. Vincent de Paul in 1909 entitled “Charity for the Poor,” Fr. Anizan summarized it by saying, “Our task is to reproduce the Charity of the divine Savior for all those that He called the poor.” Charity for Fr. Anizan is the supernatural love of the Savior that surpasses all. He asked the Brothers to recognize in the poor “the image of the Savior living among men (and women).” He used as biblical basis the words quoted by the evangelists: “Misereor super turbam” (My heart is moved with pity for the crowds). According to Fr. Anizan, while quoting St. John Chrysostom, St. Augustine and St. Francis de Sales, sincere charity is primarily kindness and benevolence. Charity is unselfish, patient, meek and persevering. Like that of Jesus, it is without limits. He concluded by saying, “When, by the grace of God, true charity seizes a soul, it does not reason anymore. It loves, it acts, it gives itself without counting; it is like an obsession, a
kind of insanity, but a divine insanity that urges, that inspires countless charitable inventions, that makes it sometimes accomplish heroic actions.” Furthermore, Fr. Anizan clearly defined the term “charity” using the words of Paul on his first letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 13). Fr. Anizan presented the following words on charity: “Our charity toward the souls to whom God sends us, must first of all be sincere, it must be heartfelt…the sincerity I am speaking of is deeper, it is rooted in faith…sees in the poor the image of our Savior living among us…What will most inspire a sincere charity is kindness and benevolence. ‘Charity is kind.’ Kindness is charity’s most beautiful ornament. It is shown through the benevolence of the glance and face, by the gentleness of the speech, by patient listening, by eagerness to sympathize and relieve, by the heart’s warmth. It is pleasant, when one suffers, to pour out one’s heart into a truly kind heart. Even before words come out, one is comforted by the very attitude and affable look…Be good, not only of that commonplace kindness found everywhere and that only comes from being good natured, but of that profound kindness that entails efforts and constitutes a virtue. Your charity must be disinterested. ‘It does not seek its own interest,’ says Paul. Those who are doing good can be ‘interested’ in many ways. They can seek the reputation of being charitable, which is quite pleasant for one’s self-esteem…Is that true charity? No, it is only a mockery. It is a selfish charity, if one can use such contradictory words. For a family wanted by God for the relief and salvation of the forsaken of this world, there is but only one nobility, it is that of misery, ignorance and neglect (of self). It is not rude. It always implies patience, kindness and support, and one must admit that it is not easy to realize, most of all towards the most destitute. How many times are we exposed to ingratitude, unreasonable resistances and deceptions that it hurts the most sensitive part of our heart! But nevertheless, true charity does not irritate itself. It endures all. Charity is also constant and must not depend on impressions and feelings. ‘To deserve its name, says St. John Chrysostom, charity must flow continuously and not by gushes.’ Those whose charity is not constant risk losing it and, indeed, often lose instantly the results of long and hard efforts to attract souls to God. Finally, charity for the poor must be limitless. ‘The measure of charity is to know no measure,’ says St. Chrysostom. Has not the divine Master preached the excess of charity through his words and examples? He wants us to forgive seventy times seven, he orders us to love our
neighbor as ourselves…We need such things in our heart and life with regard to the poor.”14 In March 1914, during his most significant retreat at Pleterje after his deposition as General Superior, Fr. Anizan continued to contemplate on Jesus’ love-charity for the people. He wrote: “The thought of the lost crowds is constantly with me and haunts me…I joined to his (Jesus) passion the crosses I carry right now, and with Him I spent the whole time of Mass crying the miserere of these poor crowds and offering myself to go to them, to pray, suffer and act for them.” It was the first sign he received from Jesus, as the Good Shepherd, which set the idea of founding a new congregation. On December 1, 1914, the “dark night” over and things were clearer for Fr. Anizan, he wrote to Fr. Alexander Josse saying, “For the time being, I still belong to God, to poverty, to chastity and to obedience at the service of the forsaken…I have offered myself up to God to be a true Son of Charity. Deus caritas est.” In Clichy in 1916, Fr. Anizan wrote for himself some personal rules and a meditation on Matthew’s Misereor super turbam. As a rule, he reasserted that his love remains firmly in God by saying, “Charity must be the breath of my life as it was in the life of Our Divine Savior, my model, in His lifetime…I must again offer myself to God, pray to Him, prepare myself in order to train generous souls get back to the great task of Charity.” This led to the center of his apostolic vocation and revealed the founding cornerstone of the Sons of Charity. He further wrote: “I want to be looked at as the unselfish and dedicated friend of the poor, the underprivileged, the disgraced and of all those whom the world runs away from or rejects, of those who are alone or among crowds, of those who are lonely, of those who have no one…Jesus had mercy for these crowds. Nowadays who has mercy for them? …What would be needed? Men who love these crowds, understand their distress and
Sons of Charity, “Fr. Anizan Speaks,” Charity, ed. Gerard Marle, SC (Paris: 1999), 31-33.
spiritual abandonment, go to them, prove to them their interest and attachment, dedicate themselves so much to them, dedicated to the workers, put so much God and religion at their reach in the homilies, offices, celebration of sacraments, in organizations…With Jesus, love went as far as Incarnation, as far as the crib in Bethlehem, as far as the workshop in Nazareth, as far as all the details of his apostolic life, as far as his suffering, as far as his Passion, as far as his atrocious death on the cross. There is a true, profound and serious love…I would like to imitate it, acquire it, and realize it.” In another writing entitled “The Great Task,” which Fr. Anizan sent to his companions who also left the Brothers of St. Vincent de Paul and were then with the Third Order of St. Francis of Assisi, he continued to stress that Charity, “which is Our Lord’s spirit” (a reference to Christ crucified and Good Shepherd of the crowds), must fill the heart of each one and must inspire his relations and actions. He further admonished by saying, “Let us be charity incarnate and let us make our Christians charity incarnate.” In a circular letter to the first Sons of Charity at the end of 1921, Fr. Anizan expressed his reflection on God’s love and the meaning of the Institute. He states: “God is not only charitable, full of love for us; he is Love, he is Charity itself…it is that divine being that we are called to reproduce among men (and women) and most of all, among the poor…Sons of Charity does not mean sons of the virtue of charity…It means sons of God considered as Charity…The first Son of Charity is the Son of God (Jesus)…Charity is God’s very being.” In 1923, in a circular letter entitled “Our Apostolate,” he once again stressed to the Sons that charity, which proceeds from Christ, constitutes their distinctive character and that it is the first means of action and the first condition for a fruitful apostolate.15
Jean-Yves Moy trans. by Lorenzo Lortie, SC, In the Footsteps of Father Anizan on the Highroads of Charity (Paris: 1990).
CHAPTER IV WHAT IS PASTORAL CHARITY?
In this chapter, the researcher will attempt to present some biblical references on pastoral charity as used by Fr. Anizan specifically in the First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians (Chapter 13), Matthew’s “Misereor super turbam” (My heart is moved with pity for the crowds) and in John’s Good Shepherd. In the second part, we will also take
into account the wisdom of Pope Benedict XVI in his first encyclical letter with the subject of Charity. This chapter will provide the foundation on pastoral charity.
A. Biblical Foundation Fr. Anizan always made reference of pastoral charity as that which the Good Shepherd has for the “crowds.” He admonished the Sons “to be together as shepherds and apostles of inventive and multi-faceted charity among the workers and the poor, in the manner of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who went about evangelizing the crowds.” Fr. Anizan clearly explained in the Commentaries of the First Constitution of the Sons of Charity16 that the name of the Institute itself—Sons of Charity—means “Sons of God,” God who is Charity itself and not the mere virtue of charity. And he derived this from John’s “Deus caritas est” (1 John 4:8). He also made reference to Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians (Chapter 13) that Love-Charity is above all other virtues. According to Raymond Brown17, this chapter of Paul’s epistle is also called “The Hymn to Love” and it contains some of the most beautiful lines ever penned by Paul. After the contrast between love and charisms (13:1-3), 13:4-8a personifies love and makes it the subject of sixteen verbs (some of which are translated by predicate adjectives in English). Every New Testament (NT) author does not have the same understanding of the term Christian love (agapē). In A. Nygren’s famous Agape and Eros,18 to spotlight the uniqueness of Christian agapē, he contrasted it with both the highest expression of love (eros) among the Pagan philosophers and love described in the Old Testament (OT). He
Anizan, Commentaries, 38-39, 41-42. Raymond E. Brown, S.S., An Introduction to the New Testament (New York: Doubleday, 1997), A. Nygren, Agape and Eros, 2 Volumes (London: SPCK), 1932-37.
described eros as love attracted by the goodness of the object: people reaching out or up for the good they want to possess in order to be more complete. In Platonic philosophy this eros would be a motivating factor reaching out for the perfect truth and beauty that exists outside this world. While in Aristotelian philosophy eros would involve the material or limited reaching out to be less limited and thus moving up the scale of being. God, in whom there is all perfection, would be the supreme object of eros. Agapē on the otherhand is unmotivated; it confers goodness on the object loved. Thus agapē starts with God who needs nothing from creatures but by love brings them into being and ennobles them. In particular, Paul’s notion of love is based on the selfgiving of Christ, who loved us not because we were good but while we were still sinners (Rom 5:8). As 1 John 4:8, 10 proclaims: “God is love…In this is love, not that we loved God but that God loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.” The eloquent personification of love in 1 Cor 13:5-8 almost makes love and Christ interchangeable. Given worth (justified, sanctified) by Christ’s agapē, we become the channel of passing that love on to others whom we love, not evaluating their goodness and without motivation: “Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12). Brown also commented that Nygren wrote almost as if eros was to be eradicated in favor of agapē when, as a matter of fact, both forms of love should coexist. In Christian love for another, there should be an aspect of the unmotivated, not dependent on how good that person is; but the Christian can scarcely not love the goodness of that person as well. Nygren, who held that loving God because of the divine goodness would be eros, was too purist in arguing that Christians cannot love God since there is nothing
that can be bestowed on God. More so, Nygren contended wrongfully that there was no agapē in the OT. The hesed or covenant love of God for Israel is a manifestation of agapē. “Love, the more excellent way” is how Mary Ann Getty calls this chapter of Paul’s epistle. According to Getty,19 in understanding this very famous passage, we need to bear in mind Paul’s description of charity as the gift of the community. It is the more excellent and fundamental way. Any gift without love is really nothing. The Apostle has just finished discussing the variety of spiritual gifts and now he considers three of the more extolled—the gift of tongues, prophecy and faith. And without love, they amount to nothing. The characteristics of love are the opposite of the self-seeking, competitive characteristics of knowledge. The Corinthians’ hierarchy of values fostered factiousness. But this is opposed to Christian community. Unlike the strong who anathematize the weak, love is patient. Unlike the weak who condemn the strong, love is kind. The enlightened or the celibate may put on airs or expect certain honors, but this is not the way of love. The poor, the outcast, or the neglected may brood over their injuries, but love will teach them to forgive without limit and hope without condition. It cannot be love that prompts the Corinthians to rejoice over wrong, as in the case of the incestuous man, for example (1 Cor 5:1-13). Love does not run out. Prophecies, tongues,
knowledge, have limits, but love does not. In 13:9 Paul instead discusses only the two gifts of prophecy and knowledge, and then gave emphasis on knowledge alone, which decreases in importance compared to
Mary Ann Getty, “1 Corinthians” in The Collegeville Bible Commentary, eds. Diane Bergant, C.S.A. et.al. (Makati City: St. Pauls, 1994), 1126-1127.
Love perfects knowledge, which is imperfect.
The Corinthians strive for The
knowledge, but Paul tells them that this is symptomatic of their immaturity.
Corinthians reason like children, but as they grow and mature in Christian wisdom, the will put aside these childish ways and pursue love as the greatest wisdom. Of the three realities (faith, hope and love), which endure, the greatest is love. There are other spiritual gifts, but love is the one essential gift that characterizes the community worthy of the name Christian. Love is the criterion for judging the relative value of all other gifts, since all gifts are given for the sake of building up the community (14:1-5). Fr. Anizan also made mention several times “misereor super turbam,” referring to Matthew’s “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd” in Matt 15:29-32a and “At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them…” in Matt 9:36. In other sources, the word “compassion” is used instead of “pity.” Though the two words are synonymous, “compassion” is more appropriately used because it is active unlike the word “pity,” which is passive. The Greek splanchnizein derives from the noun for “entrails,” “bowels,” “guts” as the seat of emotions.20 Thus, it is a feeling of keen regret or sorrow that comes from within—the core of one’s being—and is inclined to act accordingly. Likewise, Jesus’ compassion is sympathetic to the emotions, i.e. suffering, of the crowds. Fr. Anizan’s “Misereor super turbam,” written in 1916 in Clichy (see page 53) clearly explained this passage in Matt 15:29-32a. According to Daniel Harrington, S.J.,21 Matthew has transformed the exotic story of Jesus healing the man who was deaf and with a speech impediment (Mark 7:31-37)
Benedict T. Viviano, O.P., “The Gospel According to Matthew,” The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, eds. Raymond E. Brown, S.S., et.al. (Bangalore: Theological Publications in India, 2001), 650. 21 Daniel J. Harrington, S.J., The Gospel of Matthew, Sacra Pagina Series Volume 1, ed. Daniel Harrington, S.J. (Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1991), 136-139, 219, 239-241.
into a general healing session for various afflictions. His expansion of the incident seems to have been guided by the kinds of illnesses listed in Isaiah 35:5-6. He also situated it by the Sea of Galilee, in Jewish territory. But Matthew, at the end of the story, may also be suggesting that the recipients of these healings may have been Gentiles. Whether those doing it were Jews or Gentiles, glorifying God emerges as the appropriate response to the healing power of Jesus. In verse 32a, Matthew has basically retained what is found in Mark 8:1-3. Unlike in Matt 14:14 he has retained Mark’s reason why Jesus had pity on the crowds—that the crowds had been with him for three days and had nothing to eat. Or the reason could also refer to the one which Matthew omitted in 14:14 that Jesus had pity on the crowds “for they were like sheep not having a shepherd” (Mark 6:34), which is also rooted in the OT (Num 27:17, 1 Kgs 22:17; 2 Chr 18:16; Ezek 34:5-6; and Zech 13:7). These point us to three things: Jesus is the Healer; Jesus’ healing is for all afflictions; Jesus’ healing is for all peoples—the crowds; and the reason for Jesus’ healing is his compassion (pity) for the hungry as well as for the “sheep without a shepherd.” Moreover, according to Harrington, in Matt 9:36, the image of Israel (the crowds) is presented as the lost sheep (see Matt 10:6). Jesus shows compassion toward his people (see Matt 14:14; 15:32; 20:34) and wishes to serve as their shepherd. The need of the flock is stressed by the addition of the two participles “harassed and torn apart.” The image of Israel as a flock is common in the Hebrew Bible. A sub-category of such imagery appears in texts that concern the relation between flock and shepherd. In fact, Matt 9:36 alludes to Num 27:17: “that the congregation of the Lord may not be as sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew’s heightening of their condition as being “harassed and
torn apart” may reflect other texts: “I saw all Israel scattered upon the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd” (1 Kgs 22:17; 2 Chr 18:16). The prophets used this imagery to describe the exile (“they were scattered because there was no shepherd,” Ezek 34:5) and the Day of the Lord (“Strike the shepherd that the sheep may be scattered,” Zech 13:7). With the images of the sheep without a shepherd (9:36) and the twelve apostles (10:1-4), Matthew prepares for Jesus’ instructions regarding the mission to Israel (10:6). He comments on the present state of Israel as “harassed and torn apart”—a description more appropriate after the events of A.D. 70. He charts out the place of Jesus’ followers in the story of salvation: The harvest (=final judgment) is approaching; Israel the flock needs leadership that only Jesus and his disciples can provide; and on their leadership depends the restoration of Israel. The passages in Matt 9:35-38 also give us a glimpse of Jesus’ ministry and thus provide a guideline for the Church’s ministry. Matt 9:35 is an almost verbatim repetition of 4:23. Each speaks of Jesus’ teaching, preaching and healing. The teaching and preaching (ministry) form the content of chapters 5-7, and the healing, that of chapters 89. Some scholars speak of a portrayal of Jesus as “Messiah of the Word” in 5-7 and “Messiah of the Deed” in 8-9. That is accurate so far as it goes, but there is also a strong emphasis on discipleship in 8-9; these chapters have not only christological but ecclesiological import.22 These verses then well provide us with a foretaste of an integral or holistic ministry that Jesus lived.
Footnote on Matt 8:1-9, 38 in The New American Bible (Manila: Philippine Bible Society, 1987), 1072.
In relation above, one of the elements on pastoral charity that Fr. Anizan pointed out is also the image of the Good Shepherd, of which the Sons ought to emulate. The best way to understand this is through the famous passages on the Good Shepherd in John 10:1-18. According to Francis J. Moloney, S.D.B.,23 it is widely acknowledged that there is no direct citation from the OT in 10:1-18 even though there is a strong biblical tradition presenting unfaithful leaders of Israel as bad shepherds who consign their flock to the wolves (Jer 23:1-8; Eze 34; 22:27; Zeph 3:3; Zech 10:2-3; 11:4-17). Throughout the OT God is repeatedly spoken of as the shepherd of God’s people. When the exile caused many to doubt, God was presented as the future shepherd of the people (Jer 31:10; 13:17; 23:3; Isa 40:11; 49:9-10). Ezekiel 34:11-16 speaks of God as the future good shepherd gathering the flock. This image is continued in later writings (Zeph 3:19; Mic 2:12; 4:67; Qoh 12:11; Sir 18:13). As the monarchy disappeared prophets spoke of a future Davidic figure who would be shepherd to the people (Mic 5:3; Jer 3:15; 23:4-6; Ezek 34:23-24; 37:24; Zech 13:7-9). The notion emerges of “one shepherd” who will form “one flock.” The image continues and strengthens in other Jewish literature, and no doubt provides the background for Jesus’ words in John 10:1-18. In 10:1-6, there are two ways to enter the sheepfold, depending on whether one wishes to shepherd or to harm the sheep. Each sheep knows its familiar name and responds immediately to the voice of the one calling it by name (v. 3b). Once the sheep have been called by name, assembled, and taken out of the fold to frequent their pasture the shepherd walks ahead of them, and they gladly follow the one whose voice is familiar
Francis J. Moloney, S.D.B., The Gospel of John, Sacra Pagina Series Volume 4, ed. Daniel Harrington, S.J. (Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1998), 300-311.
to them (v. 4). The opposite happens in the case of a stranger; they will not follow, and they flee in panic (v. 5). In 10:7-13, Jesus reveals himself as “the door of the sheep,” and only through him can one have right access to the sheep, and the sheep have exit to good pasture (v. 7, 9). Jesus is the mediator who will provide what the sheep need for life. Jesus has come that the sheep may have pasture (Ezek 34:14), thus have life and have it more abundantly (Ezek 34:25-31). Those who enter (v. 9:eiselthē) are saved; those who go out (v. 9: exeleusetai) find pasture. The contrast between Jesus and others—the thief, the robbers—continues as he claims, “I am the Good Shepherd” (v. 11a: egō eimi ho poimēn ho kalos). The shepherd of v. 2 is rendered christological in vv. 11-13. The introduction of the image of the Good Shepherd links Jesus with the tradition of a messianic shepherd of the people of God. However, from the very first use of the image in his self-revelation Jesus also introduces his uniqueness: “the Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (v. 11b). It is possible to read these words as “to risk one’s life,” but too much of the story already points toward the violent end of Jesus’ life. In a final word of condemnation Jesus stresses the negative nature of the relationship between the hireling and the sheep (v. 13). The Good Shepherd gives his life for his sheep, and the hireling is only interested in personal gain. Like “the Jews,” who refused to accept Jesus’ claims that he is from God, their self-interest blocks them from accepting the fullness of the gift that comes through Jesus Christ. In 10:14-18, Jesus no longer concerns himself with others who claim to be shepherds but with the relationship he has with the flock (vv. 14-16) and with his Father
(vv. 17-18). Jesus is the Good Shepherd who knows his sheep, and his sheep know him (v. 14b), but behind this mutuality lies the fundamental mutuality between the Father and Jesus (v. 15a). The use of kathōs (as)…kagō (and I) expresses an intimacy between the mutual knowledge of Father and Son. This mutuality can be seen in the self-gift of the Good Shepherd. The sharing of knowledge and oneness between Jesus and the sheep and between Jesus and the Father leads logically to the Good Shepherd’s laying down his life for the sheep (v. 15b). The expected Davidic shepherd-messiah has been eclipsed by Jesus, the Good Shepherd Messiah who lays down his life for his sheep. The image of the Good Shepherd may come from Jewish messianic traditions, but Jesus’ being the Good Shepherd flows from his oneness with God (vv. 14-15). The idea of one shepherd leading one people of God came from biblical tradition (Mic 5:3-5; Jer 3:15; 23:4-6; Ezek 34:23-24) and continued in later Jewish literature, but something more is claimed by Jesus. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep because of the union between himself and the Father (v. 15). The world outside Israel will be drawn into the fold of Jesus through his willing gift of himself unto death (v. 16). The crucial function of the relationship between Jesus and the Father dominates Jesus’ final words on the Good Shepherd (vv. 17-18). The Father’s love for Jesus is shown in Jesus’ laying down his life so that he might take it up again (v. 17). Jesus will willingly die a violent death but will take his life again because the Father loves him. Jesus closes his discourse by speaking of his authority (v. 18b). It is Jesus’ decision, the exercising of his authority, that he will lay down his life and take it again. No one takes it from him (v. 18a). Jesus’ transformation of the traditional messianic expectation of a Davidic shepherd-messiah gathering one flock under one shepherd by
means of the unconditional gift of himself unto death, only to take his life again, is a charge received from the Father (v. 18c). Jesus’ self-revelation as the messianic Good Shepherd has come full circle. It began with his teaching on the union of knowledge that exists between the Father and the Son (v. 15), and closes with an admission that whatever he does is the fulfillment of the command (entolē) of the Father (v. 18).
B. Benedict XVI on Charity It came as a surprise that the first encyclical letter, entitled “Deus Caritas Est”24 released on December 25, 2005, of Pope Benedict XVI was on Christian Love. The letter begins with these two lines, “`God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him’ (1 Jn 4:16). These words from the First Letter of John express with remarkable clarity the heart of the Christian faith: the Christian image of God and the resulting image of mankind and its destiny.” In this letter the Pope speaks of the love which God lavishes on mankind and contrasting it with that of human love. Likewise it speaks of the love that mankind ought to share with others or the “neighbors.” According to Benedict XVI, there are two different Hebrew words to indicate “love.” First there is the word dodim, a plural form suggesting a love that is still insecure, indeterminate and searching. This comes to be replaced by the word ahabà, which the Greek version of the OT translates with the similar-sounding agape, which, as we have seen, becomes the typical expression for the biblical notion of love. By contrast with an indeterminate, “searching” love, this word expresses the experience of love which involves a real discovery of the other, moving beyond the selfish character. Love now becomes concern and care for the other. No longer is it self-seeking, a sinking in the
Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Deus Caritas Est (Rome: December 25, 2005).
intoxication of happiness; instead it seeks the good of the beloved: it becomes renunciation and it is ready, and even willing, for sacrifice. It is in this way that Jesus portrays his own path, which leads through the Cross to the Resurrection. Starting from the depths of his own sacrifice and of love that reaches fulfillment therein, he also portrays the essence of love and indeed of human life itself. There is always a difference placed between eros, as a term to indicate “worldly” love, and agape, referring to love grounded in and shaped by faith. Yet eros and agape— ascending love and descending love—can never be completely separated. The more the two find a proper unity in the one reality of love, the more the true nature of love in general is realized. God’s eros for man is totally agape. This is not only because it is bestowed in a completely gratuitous manner, without any previous merit, but also because it is love which forgives. God’s passionate love for his people—for humanity— is at the same time a forgiving love. Here Christians can see a dim prefigurement of the mystery of the Cross: so great is God’s love for man that by becoming man he follows him even into death, and so reconciles justice and love. Moreover, Jesus is the incarnate love of God. Jesus’ death on the Cross is the culmination of that turning of God against himself in which he gives himself in order to raise man up and save him. By contemplating the pierced side of Christ (John 19:37), we can understand the starting point of this Encyclical Letter: “God is Love” (1 John 4:8). It is there that this truth can be contemplated. It is from there that our definition of love must begin. In this contemplation the Christian discovers the path along which his life and love must move.
Benedict XVI also points out the unbreakable bond between love of God and love of neighbor. One is so closely related to the other that to say that we love God becomes a lie if we are closed to our neighbor or hate him altogether (1 Jn 4:20). St. John’s words should rather be interpreted to mean that love of neighbor is a path that leads to the encounter with God, and that closing our eyes to our neighbor also blinds us to God. Love of neighbor is thus shown to be possible in the way proclaimed by the Bible, by Jesus. It consists in the very fact that, in God and with God, I love even the person whom I do not like or even know. This can only take place on the basis of an intimate encounter with God, an encounter which has become a communion of will, even affecting our feelings. Then I learn to look on this other person not simply with my eyes and my feelings, but from the perspective of Jesus Christ. His friend is my friend. He extols that love of neighbor, grounded in the love of God, is first and foremost a responsibility for each individual member of the faithful, but it is also a responsibility for the entire ecclesial community at every level: from the local community to the particular Church and to the Church universal in its entirety. As a community, the Church must practice love. Within the community of believers there can never be room for a poverty that denies anyone what is needed for a dignified life. The Church cannot neglect the service of charity any more than she can neglect the Sacraments and the Word. For the Church, charity is not a welfare activity which could equally well be left to others, but is a part of her nature, an indispensable expression of her very being. The Church is God’s family in the world. In this family no one ought to go without the necessities of life. Yet at the same time caritas-agape extends beyond the frontiers of the Church. Without in any way detracting from this commandment of universal love, the
Church also has a specific responsibility: within the ecclesial family no member should suffer through being in need. Of this, Benedict XVI presents the essential elements of Christian and ecclesial charity: 1) Following the example given in the parable of the Good Samaritan, Christian charity is first of all the simple response to immediate needs and specific situations: feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for and healing the sick, visiting those in prison, etc. We are dealing with human beings, and human beings always need something more than technically proper care. They need humanity. They need heartfelt concern. Charity workers need a “formation of heart”: they need to be led to that encounter with God in Christ which awakens their love and opens their spirits with others. As a result, love of neighbor will no longer be for them a commandment imposed, so to speak, from without, but a consequence deriving from their faith, a faith which becomes active through love (Gal 5:6); 2) Christian charitable activity must be independent of parties and ideologies. It is not a means of changing the world ideologically, but it is a way of making present here and now the love which man always needs. We contribute to a better world only by personally doing good now, with full commitment and wherever we have the opportunity, independently of partisan strategies and programs. The Christian’s program—the program of the Good Samaritan, the program of Jesus—is “a heart which sees.” This heart sees where love is needed and acts accordingly; and 3) Charity cannot be used as a means of engaging in what is nowadays considered proselytism. Love is free; it is not practiced as a way of achieving other ends. Those who practice charity in the Church’s name will never seek to impose the Church’s faith upon others. They realize that a pure and generous love is the best witness to the God in whom we believe and by whom we are driven to love. Benedict XVI concludes thus: “Faith, hope and charity go together. Hope is practiced through the virtue of patience, which continues to do good even in the face of apparent failure, and through the virtue of humility, which accepts God’s mystery and trusts him even at times of darkness. Faith tells us that God has given his Son for our sakes and gives us the victorious certainty that it is really true: God is love! It thus transforms our impatience and doubts into the sure hope that God holds the world in his hands and that, in spite of all darkness he ultimately triumphs in glory. Faith, which sees the love of
God revealed in the pierced heart of Jesus on the Cross, gives rise to love. Love is the light—and in the end, the only light—that can always illuminate a world grown dim and give us the courage needed to keep living and working. Love is possible, and we are able to practice it because we are created in the image of God. To experience love and in this way to cause the light of God to enter into the world—this is the invitation that I would like to extend with the present Encyclical.”
CHAPTER V THE CONTEXTUALIZATION OF PASTORAL CHARITY
In this chapter, the researcher will inculturate pastoral charity in the Filipino context based on Fr. Anizan’s praxis of it as found in Chapter 3, and on its meaning according to biblical foundations and Benedict XVI found in Chapter 4. The next section will provide directions for pastoral orientations and initiatives for the Church in the Philippines, in general, and the Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish, a specific mission area of the Sons.
A. Pastoral Charity in the Filipino Context “What does pastoral charity look like in the places where we live and in our different cultural and religious contexts?” This is the question that has left a mark for discernment to the researcher, and probably to every pastor and Christian, who is compelled by love itself to share the same love received from God. Thus in this section, the researcher will present the “face” of charity from the point view of a pastor in a Filipino context.
Charity-Love that originates with God… Deus caritas est. God is Love (1 John 4:16). It is from this basic principle of Christian life that pastoral charity evolves. Charity here is taken as Love in its highest form, originated from the very Being of God and hereby termed as agape. It is
unmotivated and therefore is not dependent on how good that person is. It simply confers goodness on the object loved. God needs nothing from creatures but by love, brings them into being and ennobles them. According to John, “In this is love, not that we loved God but that God loved us” (1 John 4:10). It involves a real discovery of the other thus moving beyond the self. With this, love now becomes concern and care for the other. It is no longer self-seeking. It only seeks the good of the beloved. Just like God, it is bestowed in a gratuitous manner, without merit. Likewise it is a love that forgives—a forgiving love. God became man and followed him even into death. And with this, he reconciles both justice and love. It is a turning of God against Himself. God gives
Himself in order to raise man up and save him. It is in this way that a Christian discovers the path along which his life and love must move. This has been evident in Fr. Anizan when he said, “God has granted me the desire for Religious life…He has conceded me a passion for the poor and the workers…My heart belongs, after God, to the forsaken, the disinherited of this world, to those who lack support, affection, consolation…” He even extolled to the Sons of Charity that the great purpose of the Institute is the glory of God and all the rest are secondary. For him, everything begins and goes back to God. He said, “When, by the grace of God, true charity seizes a soul, it does not reason anymore. It loves, it acts, it gives itself without counting.” He offers all these back to God through the love for the poor saying, “My heart will be entirely given to God, and, for God, entirely given to the orphans, the poor and the forsaken.” And Fr. Anizan affirms this basic principle of love, “God is not only charitable, full of love for us; He is Love, He is Charity itself…It is that divine being that we are called to reproduce among men (and women) and most of all, among the poor.” In the manner of God’s love, Paul also stresses some characteristics indispensable in love. Love is patient. It is patient in the midst of sufferings and struggles. Pastoral charity must not give up easily for poverty and oppression do not go away overnight. Love is kind and benevolent. In pastoral charity it is expressed in the way one
approaches the other in sincerity, in the gentleness of the glance and speech, in generous availability to those in need, in heartfelt listening and consoling, and in the eagerness to sympathize. Love is not inflated. It does not seek self-esteem. It is of humility. It is not rude in spite of some experiences of ingratitude and resistances to love. It is encourages the poor and suffering to deepen more in faith and hope. It leads the wrongdoers to
repentance and conversion. It prevails over situations of misery, injustices, desperation and hopelessness. It is without limit. It goes on and on and never gets tired. It transcends human limitations. It is the greatest wisdom. Love makes the impossible possible. In the context of the Philippines, we could draw from the virtue and concept of kagandahang-loob as Charity-Love. It is described as benevolence, kindness, generosity, helpfulness and goodness. This term is very much like the definition of Charity-Love by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 and in Fr. Anizan’s interpretation in his work, “Charity for the Poor.” Moreover, the concept of kagandahang-loob is a drive and motivation which comes from the inner self and a positive relational move which contributes to the wellbeing of the other. It is goodness and benevolence that arises from the very core of one’s personhood. It makes the first move and manifests itself out of pure goodness and benevolence.25 Kagandahang-loob is a quality of being which has its roots in the very heart of a person and which is given expression in the totality of one’s life of interrelationship. It is a relational concept. It comes from the personal initiative of the one acting thus it is graciously free. It is directed towards the well-being or welfare of the other thus other-oriented. It is not self-seeking and does not look for a return of favor. It has a tendency to an excessive manifestation of goodness and generosity which goes beyond what is considered usual, proper or just.26 These characteristics of kagandahangloob in turn become synonymous with the principle of Charity-Love as the very nature of God and from which Filipinos can begin with in loving.
Jose M. De Mesa, Why Theology is Never Far From Home (Manila: De La Salle University Press, 2003), 147. 26 Jose M. De Mesa, Following the Way of the Disciples (Quezon City: EAPI Pastoral Resources, 1996), 80-83.
God is Love. We are created in His image and that makes love possible for us. When we experience God’s love, we ought to share it with others.
Charity-Love of a shepherd for the lost sheep… The term “pastor” is interchangeable with “shepherd” thus one who looks after and care for the sheep—the flock. It finds its origin in God, the Shepherd of the Old Testament, and in Jesus, the messianic Good Shepherd of the New Testament. The prophets of the OT point to God as a future good shepherd of the scattered sheep of the exile. Jesus shows compassion for the people (Matt 14:14) and wishes to serve as their shepherd. Likewise it refers to all those who consider themselves as present-day
disciples of Christ or faithful followers of Christ whom He sent and admonished to do as He did to the faithful—the sheep—and the Church—the flock (Matt 10:6). Pastoral charity for Fr. Anizan is that which comes from “Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who went about evangelizing the crowds.” The crowds for Fr. Anizan are all those whom Jesus called the poor—the materially poor, the orphans, widows, women, sinners, prisoners, the sick, the impaired, the hungry, the naked, the dying etc.—during His time. They are also the spiritually poor, the despised, outcast, deprived, oppressed, marginalized, exploited, neglected, unfortunate, lonely, abandoned, alone, lost, “harassed and torn apart.” The same crowds—the poor, plus the workers or laborers or working class, “those who earn their living day by day by the sweat of their brow”—haunt Fr. Anizan during his time. And in the Philippines today, we are faced with the same crowds. Majority of the Filipinos consider themselves and are known to be poor. Poverty—lack of basic
necessities like food, shelter, health and educational needs etc.—is the main social concern of the country today. There is a high rate of unemployment and
underemployment, and those employed are mostly laborers or unskilled workers who fall prey to unjust labor conditions. Added to these is the growing gap of the rich and the poor as a result of economic inequality, which is likewise worsened by misconceived economic reforms, that only favor the rich and burden the poor all the more, just to keep pace with globalization. The poor, in spite of their growing number, are marginalized in favor of the few rich. The crowd of poor Filipinos is also a victim of a corrupt, oppressive and selfserving government and political system. They are neglected, manipulated and abused by those who are in power. They are deprived to speak out, as they are deprived of their basic necessities, or when they do so, they will be harassed, oppressed or even worse killed by those in power. Moreover, corruption has become a culture and only the corrupt prospers when it could have greatly helped in alleviating the plight of the poor masses. The economic and political condition of the country taken together influences the moral degradation in society. Filipinos are pluralistic due to its multi-cultural
characteristic and particularistic due to its family-centeredness. But rather than dwelling on its positive values (rich cultural heritage, solidarity, loyalty, respect for elders etc.), the economic and political conditions fostered its negative values (factiousness, passivity, individualism, pluralism etc.). The poor crowds lose the sense of right or wrong and thus account for those who are “lost.” Moreover, more Filipino Catholics are considered “lost,” either to fundamentalists or as nominal, or due to the lack of Church personnel or
pastors, and concrete Church programs. All these are also true down to the lowest level of society, like the specific context of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish. There is indeed an urgent need for pastoral charity in the Philippines today. We need to be pastors who have compassion just like that of Jesus for the “lost crowds,” who are like “sheep without a shepherd.” Initially, the shepherd must know the sheep and the sheep knows him. He is well-rooted in the life-struggles of the people. Then the compassion of the pastor must fill the “hunger” of the people, who are materially and spiritually hungry for food, justice or love. Pastoral charity also brings about “healing” in society. As pastors we must “heal” our wounded society brought about by poverty, injustice, oppression and moral degradation. And by our “healing,” the people go on glorifying God and not the healer for our love must be “disinterested” as Fr. Anizan puts it. Love transforms society. As living witness to love, the pastor brings about personal conversion and social transformation. The people immediately respond to his call for they recognize him as love-incarnate. Unlike our present self-serving leaders in society, as pastors, we renounce ourselves and, become ready and willing for sacrifice. The Filipino “crowds” need leadership that only a faithful disciple of Jesus can provide and on the pastor’s leadership depends the restoration of Philippine society. He leads them to “greener pastures,” provides what the poor needs for an abundant life and protects them from the “wolves”—self-serving, corrupt and oppressive leaders—of our present society. This can only be achieved by the pastor by being united to the source of pastoral charity itself, the Good Shepherd. Just like Jesus who had an intimate and mutual relationship with the Father, we draw our love from Jesus—the Love-incarnate.
Pastoral charity has to be based on the self-giving of Jesus—the Good Shepherd—who loved us not because we were good but while we were still sinners (Rom 5:8). Moreover, just like Jesus, our love must go beyond self-giving because the shepherd must be willing to “lay down his life for the sheep” (Jn 10:11b). It means “to risk one’s life.” In a society like ours, where those in power are oppressive and would kill just to hold on to power, our love for the crowds ought to be willing to lay down our life for them as well. It entails love at its deepest level where “the Filipinos are worth dying for,” as the hero, Sen. Benigno Aquino, once said. It must be a love that is equal to the love of Christ who gave up his life on the cross for the salvation of all. It must be like Jesus’ unconditional gift of Himself. And by Christ’s love, we become the channels of love for others whom we love without motivation.
Charity-Love that is faithful to the Gospel imperatives of love of God and of neighbor… Benedict XVI says that love of God and love of neighbor are united and unbreakable. Love of God becomes a total lie when we do not love our neighbor (1 Jn 4:20). Loving our neighbor leads to an encounter with God whom we cannot see. This kind of love is perfectly shown to us by Jesus throughout his life and ministry (Mk 12:2931). The neighbor is simply the “other,” other than my own self. They are those that are around us—the family, the community, the nation or the whole world. We are always surrounded by the “other” for “no one is an island.” But the neighbors for Jesus are especially the crowds of poor, marginalized, oppressed and impaired people. They
include those whom we may not know or do not like at all, our enemies (Matt 5:44; Lk
6:27). This is looking at the other—the neighbor—not simply with the eyes, ears and feelings but, from the perspective of Jesus Christ, who loved even his persecutors. Benedict XVI continues in saying that love of neighbor is a responsibility of every faithful, of the community and especially of the whole Church. Within the
community—Church, there can never be a room for poverty that denies anyone what is needed for a dignified life. No one ought to go without the necessities of life. The service of charity is as important as the Sacraments and the Word. Christian charity is first of all the simple response to immediate needs and specific situations like feeding the hungry, caring for and healing the sick etc. It is by this heartfelt concern that we love concretely. Charity-Love is an indispensable nature of a person and of a community, and more so for a faithful follower of Christ. Moreover, Charity is not only confined within the community—the Church—but also to the “gentiles and Samaritans” or the unchurched and the non-Christians. Love is free and does not seek to achieve other ends. And so a pure and generous universal love is the best witness to the God in whom we believe and by whom we are driven to love. Fr. Anizan, while going around the neighborhood and visiting factories implicitly recognized the need of pastoral love. His love for the poor and working class people was a result of his constant visits to families and work places. He said, “…a visit made to the Issy gas plant gave me a genuine love for the poor workers who are so unhappy and forsaken.” In another meditation he said, “When I meet a laborer, adult or child, if he only knew what I feel for him…I have love and sympathy for him.” Fr. Anizan always recognized the presence of others most especially the poor and afflicted, and wanted to
love them as a pastor. “I felt that charity was invading my heart, I felt the need to forget myself to please the others. And from then on I was happy,” he said. In the context of the Philippines, we are impelled to love every Filipino around us. The local Church’s orientation on preferential option for the poor concretely contextualizes the efforts of evangelization to the present situation of the country. We look around the society and we see the majority of poor and oppressed Filipinos and the few and powerful elite. Our pastoral love goes out to the majority who are impoverished. Though on the other hand, we also recognize the presence of the few elite who needs pastoral care in as much as they too need help. As pastors, we ought to help them open up to the need of solidarity and justice, as well as the need to love others—that is, the poor— generously. Filipinos could well adopt the rich concept of kapwa in this aspect with regard to the term “neighbors”—the other. In the Filipino vernacular, the concept of kapwa
supersedes the term “other” because its stress is on the sameness or similarity of human beings. The relational term for this is pakikipagkapwa. This is the reason why Filipinos give importance to human solidarity. 27 The one other than my self is just the same as I am. The ako (ego) and the iba sa akin (others) are one and the same. Pakikipagkapwa begins with knowing each other and ends with a deeper unity of the inner-self and if possible, in the offering of one’s life to each other. However, in order for it to happen, it requires a skillful and disciplined process of encounter and separation, in living together, with confidence and responsibility. We can have a deeper knowledge and unity with the other when we enter into his world.28
Ibid., 147-148. Translated by the author from Albert E. Elejo, S.J., Tao po! Tuloy!: Isang Landas ng Pag-unawa sa Loob ng Tao (Quezon City: Office of Research and Publications, Ateneo de Manila University, 1992), 8.
With this concept of kapwa and pakikipagkapwa, love of neighbors then becomes a strong imperative for loving. We ought to love our kapwa Filipinos because we are equals and there is no room for poverty that denies any kapwa what is needed for a dignified life. This is the concept of pastoral charity in the Filipino context. The question now arises as to how it has to be concretely realized through pastoral work. The next section will provide the necessary orientations or initiatives as to how to give flesh to CharityLove in the Philippines, in general, and in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish, in particular.
B. Directions for Pastoral Initiatives This section will present some directions for pastoral initiatives categorized according to the three ministries (tria munera) of the Church and other appropriate special ministries, and using the orientation of PCP II’s renewed integral evangelization, in response to the challenges confronting the society and the Church in the Philippines and specifically the Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish. WORSHIP. Pastoral Charity demands that the faithful integrate in their daily life the Love of God. Loving God is not just a Sunday or an occasional liturgy. It permeates the whole life because it is from God that we draw the love we need in our everyday life especially for those who need it most—the poor and oppressed around us. Pastors must be attentive to the tendency of Filipinos in separating worship and daily life as can be observed in the sudden increase or decrease in attendance of the faithful during Sundays, the seasons of Christmas and Holy Week, and on fiesta celebrations. This can also be the
cause for the existence of so-called nominal Catholics and for love of others to be simply just a charitable work. Thus there is a need to stress as a pastor that loving God, the source of Charity, is an act of worship that entails “all our mind, heart and strength.” Different forms of prayer must be continuously encouraged. There is a growing increase of faithful who commit themselves to the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. In the Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish, the group of Apostleship of Prayer, for instance, who are dedicated to the devotion of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the adoration of the Eucharist is very helpful in this aspect and must be propagated. This form of prayer brings us back to the core of our Church life as Christ-centered. There is a need as well to provide those who are committed to contemplative prayer the appropriate place of worship, that is, an adoration chapel. The new devotion to Jesus, Lord of the Divine Mercy, with the Divine Mercy Apostolate Group, further enriches the Christ-centeredness of our faith. Another group, the Legion of Mary, is likewise very helpful in the devotion to the Blessed Mother. The habit of praying the Rosary before or after the Eucharist, the devotions to the Mother of Perpetual Help and Immaculate Heart of Mary, and the novena and processions held in her honor are aids in strengthening the faith of the people through her mediation. The house-to-house prayer (e.g. block rosary) is also a good form of evangelization and must be nurtured. Other forms of prayer, devotions and religious practices like the Pabasa, Simbang Gabi, Flores de Mayo, Todos Los Santos, Fiestas, etc. must be encouraged but, at the same time, monitored and corrected when flawed so as not to be superficial and lead to fanaticism. Pastoral charity enables the pastor to be attentive to the flock so they would not be “lost and scattered.”
Another aspect which must be given attention is the liturgy. Sacraments must be celebrated not just because it is a form of social celebration, a family tradition, an obligation or a requirement. The pastor must see to it that the recipients understand and partake of it as one of the important elements of faith and of being a Church. The Eucharist, the center of Christian life, for instance, must be celebrated as a “celebration of life” and of community. It must be a venue of encounter with Christ, of spiritual
nourishment and conversion, of fellowship and of evangelization. Likewise it could specifically be a venue for the pastor to encourage communion among the faithful especially with those who are unfortunate and marginalized, to address issues that concern morality, justice and peace, and must be contextualized to the life struggles of the people. The Eucharist must be made available as far as possible, that is, to the grass-root level, the small Christian communities—the BECs—through the contemporary way called “street or kawan Mass.” This has to be maintained as in the case of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish. With regard to the challenge of inculturation, liturgical inculturation must also be considered. Liturgical celebrations must also mirror the real cultural life and practices of the people. The Pilipino language, or some local dialects, can and should be used in the liturgy and in preaching. The Misa ng Sambayanang Pilipino could be celebrated. Indigenous forms of worship and celebration can form part of the liturgy. “The test of true inculturation is whether people become more committed to their Christian faith because they perceive it more clearly with the eyes of their own culture.”29
John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Asia (New Delhi, India: November 6, 1999), 71-
EDUCATION. This ministry plays an important role in ensuring that worship will not be a mere formalism and fanaticism, and that social apostolate is not an activism. 30 Catechesis must first and foremost lead the people to the glory and love of God—the Word-Charity made flesh. Our Christ-centeredness must be maintained through it. The pastor must constantly make known to the flock the economy of salvation, which originated from God’s Love. Biblical formation seminars, bible studies and household sharing can be useful in this regard. Catechesis for children must also be prioritized to equip them with the basic knowledge about the faith. Catechesis and conscientization is an indispensable instrument for personal conversion and social transformation. The pastor must lead the flock in being faithful to the Word—the Gospel values. He must be attentive to ensure that the appropriation of values peculiar to Filipinos must be life-giving and not death-dealing. The faithful must be formed so that they will not be “lost” in the mire of local and global economic, political and cultural woes. Different values and moral formation seminars, recollections and retreats can be conducted. The different renewal movements now present in the Church could also be a great help in this regard. Catechesis is needed to deepen the people’s understanding of the faith and of the Sacraments. The reception of Baptism, Confirmation, Matrimony, Holy Communion etc. must be preceded with an adequate formation. As in the case of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish, it has to be maintained and developed. Liturgical formation and
inculturation seminars especially for those who are actively participating in the liturgical celebrations, e.g. lay ministers, lectors, acolytes, choir etc., must be continually given to help them deepen in their respective ministries.
PCP II, 68.
In addressing the need for Church personnel, formation of lay leaders must be seriously considered. “It is the task of the Pastors to ensure that the laity are formed as evangelizers able to face the challenges of the contemporary world…with hearts renewed and strengthened by the truth of Christ.”31 They are to be formed as pastors in their own right and thus leadership training seminars can be useful. This can be further achieved by encouraging active lay participation and empowering them. The most recent way of doing this is through the building and formation of small Christian communities—the BECs. This is where new and vibrant lay leaders can arise from. Catechesis also plays an important role in the recent call of the local Church for social consciousness and engagement. Pastoral charity demands that the pastor must awaken in the people the concern and care for social justice, solidarity and the common good. Charity demands that the faithful ought to be catalysts of change in an unjust economic and oppressive political system in the society. There is no room for
complacency or passivity. The faithful must be well informed on the realities that confound them and be inspired to act accordingly. Voters’ Education, Political Education and Good Governance, Colloquiums on Economic and Political Situationer, Seminars on the Social Doctrine of the Church etc. form part of this task of evangelization. SERVICES. “The Church clearly recognizes that Christian social action, i.e., action carried out by the Church and its members to promote human development, justice in society, and peace, is a task without which evangelization is not complete.”32 In the country today, with the dehumanizing economic and, the corrupt and oppressive political situation, pastoral charity through social action becomes more imperative. The pastor
Ecclesia in Asia, 140. PCP II, 62.
must address the needs of the poor majority of Filipinos. The Social Action arm of the local Church is equipped with the necessary response on this aspect, e.g. newly constituted Pondo ng Pinoy caters to feeding and housing programs among others, and proper coordination is to be made. As in the case of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish, the same economic woes of the people exist. Feeding Program especially for the
undernourished children could be implemented. Coordination with the Church’s and local government’s housing program could be done. Scholarship Program for poor but deserving students is a must. Job employment assistance must be provided through Job Fairs. Livelihood Programs or the establishment of cooperatives-financing opportunities for the unemployed and unskilled mothers is a great help to augment the family income, which could also be coordinated with the local or barangay unit. There are other
programs for human promotion (e.g. the sick, disabled, elderly etc.) that are made available by the Diocese and have to be taken advantage of in favor of the poor and unfortunate people in the parish. There are other socially transforming activities that could be done like Justice and Peace Initiatives, Advocacy Programs, Environmental Protection and the likes. Synonymous with social action is the Church’s orientation of preferential option for the poor because the Good Shepherd has identified Himself with them. This
orientation must permeate the pastor. “This love of preference for the poor, and the decisions which it inspires in us, cannot but embrace the immense multitudes of the hungry, the needy, the homeless, those without medical care and, above all, those without hope of a better future.”33 This option is urgent in our country where a great number of
Ecclesia in Asia, 113.
the people live in poverty and misery while huge social privileges are given to the very few rich and powerful. In the realm of politics, where the country is mired with a self-serving, corrupt and oppressive political system, and the poor suffer all the more, pastoral charity demands that the pastor has the moral responsibility to urge the lay faithful in participating actively and lead in political renewal in accordance with the values of the Gospel—justice, honesty, peace and love of service. The call for political renewal must be triggered by the pursuit of the common good and by the basic principle that “the voice of the people is the voice of God.” If need be, the pastor must be ready to stand up for these two principles against a corrupt and oppressive political regime. He must be ready to protect the flock through active non-violence. The parish must take an active part through the Public Affairs Ministry of the local Church. Special attention has to be given on the following: YOUTH AND CHILDREN MINISTRY. The young accounts for a majority part in the general national population. They are the most vulnerable to exploitation by bad elements in society. The children are the ones most loved by the Lord. There is an urgent need for the pastor to attend to their needs. Regular catechism for children should be afforded to them. They must be formed at an early age on the basic tenets of the Christian faith so that it will build a strong foundation. They must be encouraged to actively participate in liturgical celebrations and pastoral activities so that they could integrate in their present and future life their role in the Church. The areas of health care and education are especially important to our concern for them.
On equal note, the pastor must likewise tend to the youth. They must be formed on some special issues on morality and sexuality, and must be trained to be future leaders of the Church or the society. They must be formed on subjects like solidarity, justice and peace so that they could be catalysts of social transformation. They could also be good subjects for vocation discernment seminars to assist them in the choice of their future state of life. They must be integrated into a peer group active in the Church so that they are prevented from being exposed to bad company or the menace of drug addiction prevalent in the country today. They must be encouraged to develop social consciousness by engaging in social action apostolate in the parish. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish must be attentive to this special ministry. FAMILY LIFE MINISTRY. The family is the basic unit of society and the Church in the home. It must be the center of pastoral life in the Church because of the Filipinos relational concept of family-centeredness. Ministry for the family must ascertain that they are formed on important family issues like natural birth control, family planning, divorce and abortion, and the likes or otherwise known as Pro-Life program. This would safeguard the sacredness of the family and of its mission to be the first school of evangelization and discipleship. For Filipinos, the depth and vastness of faith is carried down from generation to generation within the family. That makes pastoral charity for the families important. They must be supported and encouraged especially in their life of worship, teaching and service. House-to-house visitation and household prayers are vital in this ministry. Marital fidelity for the husband and wife must be pursued and marriage counseling must be provided. Thus Marriage Encounters and participation in renewal movements like Couples for Christ could be helpful to strengthen marital relationship.
They must also be instructed on their vital responsibilities in the family especially in providing for the basic needs and education of children. On the otherhand, respect for parents and elders, and the support of aging parents must be taught to children. The family must be strengthened at all cost as the most basic Christian Community. Related to this is the effect of the increase of overseas workers to the family. It is a phenomenon in society today that strikes at the heart of the family. It is a new form of disintegration of the family. A pastoral program attentive to this problem must be pursued like a support system for all families with one or more members working abroad. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish must seriously implement this ministry. As an overall orientation of the Church, the parish must focus on the BASIC ECCLESIAL COMMUNITITES (BECs). Next to the reality of the family as a small Church are the BECs. It is a new way of being Church and an orientation of the local Church. It is a way of “bringing” the Eucharist and the Word to the small Christian communities. In this way, the faith life and daily life of the people deepens and, becomes one and integral. Likewise, it provides an opportunity for the flourishing of new lay leaders and their empowerment. It is also a venue for a focused catechesis and formation of the laity. It reinforces the rich Filipino concept of kapitbahayan or neighborhood. The people know each other well and are concern for each other’s welfare. It is a venue for solidarity as a society and as a Church. This must be strongly promoted in the Church. In the Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish, it is partly implemented but needs to form a big part of its pastoral programs.
CHAPTER VI CONCLUSION
A. Summary of the Study The main goal of this study is to come up with a re-rooting of Fr. Jean-Emile Anizan’s praxis of pastoral charity in the Filipino context. After exploring the reality of the Philippine society and Church, and the specific realities of the Hearts of Jesus and
Mary Parish (Chapter Two), discovering the life and praxis of pastoral charity of Fr. Anizan, and the Sons of Charity (Chapter Three), and examining the Church’s interpretation of pastoral charity (Chapter Four), the author presented a re-rooting of pastoral charity and some direction for pastoral initiatives (Chapter 5). The author concludes that pastoral charity is 1) Charity-Love as kagandahangloob that originates with God; 2) Charity-Love of a shepherd for the “lost Filipino crowds” and; 3) Charity-Love as love of God and love of kapwa or pakikipagkapwa. A brief summary follows. First, pastoral charity is Charity-Love that originates with God. Deus caritas est. God is Love (1 John 4:16). It is from this basic principle of Christian life that pastoral charity—taken here as Love in its highest form, one that originates from the very Being of God—evolves. It is unmotivated and simply confers goodness on the object loved. Love now becomes concern and care for the other; not self-seeking. It is a love that forgives—a forgiving love. It is a turning of God against Himself. Fr. Anizan affirms this basic principle of love, “God is not only charitable, full of love for us; He is Love, He is Charity itself…It is that divine being that we are called to reproduce among men (and women) and most of all, among the poor.” Moreover, in the manner of God’s love, Paul also stresses some characteristics indispensable in love. Love is patient, kind, benevolent, limitless, not inflated, not rude. It encourages the poor and suffering, and leads the wrongdoers to repentance and conversion. It prevails and transcends human limitations. In the context of the Philippines, we could draw from the virtue and concept of kagandahang-loob as Charity-Love. The concept of kagandahang-loob is a drive and
motivation which comes from the inner self—the heart—and a positive relational move which contributes to the well-being of the other thus other-oriented. This in turn becomes synonymous with the principle of Charity-Love as the very nature of God and from which Filipinos can begin with in loving. Second, pastoral charity is Charity-Love of a shepherd or pastor for the “lost Filipino crowds.” It finds its origin in God, the Shepherd of the Old Testament, and in Jesus, the messianic Good Shepherd of the New Testament. Pastoral charity for Fr. Anizan is that which comes from “Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who went about evangelizing the crowds,” those whom Jesus called the poor. In the Philippines today, we are also faced with the same crowd—the poor, oppressed, neglected and lost Filipinos. There is indeed an urgent need for pastoral charity in the Philippines today. Like Jesus, we need to be pastors who have pity, mercy or compassion for the “lost crowds,” who are like “sheep without a shepherd.” The shepherd must know the sheep and is thus wellrooted in the life-struggles of the people. His compassion must fill the “hunger” of the people, who are materially and spiritually hungry for food, justice or love. Pastoral charity also brings about “healing” in society wounded by poverty, injustice, oppression and moral degradation. The pastor must bring about personal
conversion and social transformation. He is ready and willing for sacrifice. He provides what the poor needs for an abundant life and protects them from oppressors. Pastoral charity has to be based on the self-giving of Jesus—the Good Shepherd. Our love must go beyond self-giving because the shepherd must be willing to “lay down his life for the sheep” (Jn 10:11b).
Third, pastoral charity is love of God and love of kapwa or pakikipagkapwa. Benedict XVI says that love of God and love of neighbor are united and unbreakable. They include those whom we may not know or do not like at all, our enemies (Matt 5:44; Lk 6:27). This is looking at the other—the neighbor—from the perspective of Jesus Christ. Love of neighbor is a responsibility of every faithful, of the community and especially of the whole Church, where there can never be a room for poverty that denies anyone what is needed for a dignified life. Christian charity is first of all the simple response to immediate needs and specific situations like feeding the hungry, caring for and healing the sick etc. As for Fr. Anizan, his love for the poor and working class people was a result of his constant visits to families and work places—his neighbors. In the context of the Philippines, we are impelled to love every Filipinos around us. The local Church’s orientation on preferential option for the poor concretely
contextualizes the efforts of evangelization to the present situation of the country. Our pastoral love goes out to the majority who are impoverished. Filipinos could well adopt the rich concept of kapwa in this aspect with regard to the term “neighbors”—the other. The concept of kapwa supersedes the term “other” because its stress is on the sameness or similarity of human beings. The relational term for this is pakikipagkapwa. With this concept of kapwa and pakikipagkapwa, love of neighbors then becomes a strong imperative for loving. In a word, this brief summary contextualizes pastoral charity based on Fr. Anizan, the biblical foundations, Benedict XVI and the context of the Philippines. Some
directions for pastoral initiatives are likewise provided to concretize pastoral charity in
the Philippines. In the next section the author now presents some findings during the course of the study; finally specific recommendations will follow.
B. Findings Benedict XVI first encyclical to the Church is on Christian Love-Charity. He concluded by saying: “Faith, hope and charity go together. Hope is practiced through the virtue of patience, which continues to do good even in the face of apparent failure, and through the virtue of humility, which accepts God’s mystery and trusts him even at times of darkness. Faith tells us that God has given his Son for our sakes and gives us the victorious certainty that it is really true: God is love! It thus transforms our impatience and doubts into the sure hope that God holds the world in his hands and that, in spite of all darkness he ultimately triumphs in glory. Faith, which sees the love of God revealed in the pierced heart of Jesus on the Cross, gives rise to love. Love is the light—and in the end, the only light—that can always illuminate a world grown dim and give us the courage needed to keep living and working. Love is possible, and we are able to practice it because we are created in the image of God. To experience love and in this way to cause the light of God to enter into the world—this is the invitation I would like to extend with the present Encyclical.” The Pope’s very timely message for love to be the light that will illuminate the darkness we live in today is consistent with the following findings of the author: 1) the urgency of Charity-Love in the Philippines today, the theme expressed by the most recent General Chapter of the Sons of Charity; 2) the qualities of the Good Shepherd underlines our Charity-Love as pastors; 3) the Church’s responsibility to respond to the immediate needs and specific situations it is confronted today; 4) the need for the Sons of Charity in the Philippines and other Religious congregations to contextualize pastoral charity and its charism; 5) and finally, the discovery of the richness of Fr. Anizan’s spirituality
personally helps in the conduct of pastoral ministry. The author will now discuss briefly in the succeeding paragraphs the five assertions. The first finding concerns the urgent need of Charity-Love in the Philippines today. Along with the world, the Filipinos are gradually sinking in economic and political misery. The country gets more impoverished materially, spiritually and
emotionally, and that affects the whole of her being. All these are because of selfishness. It is true when they say that hatred is not the opposite of love but, selfishness. The very few rich and the powerful continue to feed their greed. And the rest of the Filipinos, though account for the majority, are left to wobble in misery. A sincere and unmotivated love is the answer. It is no doubt that the Sons of Charity took the theme, “the urgency of charity,” because it is what pervades in the Philippines, as it is in the whole world, these days. It is a huge challenge for us pastors to let pastoral charity reign in our life and in our pastoral work especially for those who suffer most—the poor, the deprived, the oppressed and the exploited. We ought to love because Deus Caritas Est. We ought to love because our kagandahang-loob is the light that will conquer the darkness we live in today. The second finding concerns the qualities of the Good Shepherd that we ought to emulate in our pastoral charity. When we experience God’s all-pervading love and mercy, we are moved by the same impulse. We have no other recourse but to love. God’s love will lead us to those who are in most need of our love and mercy. And they are the poor, the unfortunate, the despised, the marginalized, the oppressed and the exploited. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, loved this “crowds.” As pastors, agents of pastoral charity, we ought to do the same thing. We must have compassion—one that originates
from the deepest recesses of our heart and soul—for the “lost Filipino crowds.” We must have a well-rooted knowledge of our people and their life-struggles. We look
compassionately on their sufferings, what leads them to misery, what oppresses them and what brings them confusion and desperation. The pastor must fill the people’s “hunger” for love and “heal” their wounds of selfishness. Like Jesus, the Good Shepherd, we must be love-incarnate and be able to bring about personal and social transformation. The pastor must never be self-serving or selfseeking. He follows Jesus’ footstep of total self-giving. He ought to be ready and willing for sacrifice for the common good. He must possess the virtues of patience, kindness, gentleness, humility, temperance, perseverance and constancy. By pastoral charity, the pastor leads the Filipino people to better future—an abundant life—and protects them from the oppressors and manipulators of society. The pastor also follows the example of Jesus in putting his life at risk and even lays it down for the people, when need be. Most importantly, all these become possible for the pastor as a “good shepherd,” if like Jesus, he is intimately and mutually linked with the Father, the source of pastoral charity, especially in prayer and contemplation. Moreover, Henri J.M. Nouwen34 provides a spirituality of ministry to help pastors sustain themselves in the ups and downs of pastoral ministry. He points out that if teaching, preaching, individual pastoral care, organizing and celebrating are acts of service that go beyond the level of professional expertise, it is precisely because in these acts the minister is asked to lay down his own life for his friends. Individual care becomes ministry when he who wants to be of help moves beyond the careful balance of give and take with a willingness to risk his own life and remain faithful to his suffering
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Creative Ministry (New York: Image Books, 1978), 113-115.
fellow man even when his own name and fame are in danger. A man lays down his life for his friends to give new life. Whether a man teaches, preaches, counsels, plans, or celebrates, his aim is to open new perspectives, to offer new insight, to give new strength, to break through the chains of death and destruction, and to create new life which can be affirmed i.e. in short—to make his weakness creative. The third finding concerns the responsibility of the Church to respond to the immediate needs and specific situations it is confronted today. Pastoral charity makes us responsible agents of love whether we are priests, religious or lay. We are responsible for each other. We are responsible to make love possible in our country and in the world. This is a challenge for us pastors. This is a challenge for us Christians. The Church is faced with an enormous challenge to respond to the immediate needs of the poor Filipino people like feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, educating the children, caring for the sick, protecting the oppressed etc. It also has to respond to situations of poverty, injustice, corruption in government, moral degradation etc. By love, the Church has to respond both to the material and spiritual needs of the people. By pastoral charity, the dignity of poor and suffering Filipinos is restored and solidarity is achieved. This brings us to PCP II’s orientation on renewed integral evangelization. “The Church takes great care to maintain clearly and firmly both the unity and the distinction between evangelization and human promotion: unity because it seeks the good of the whole person; distinction, because these two tasks enter, in different ways into her mission…we should note that the unity of the two tasks of evangelization and temporal liberation is what we usually refer to as integral evangelization or integral liberation or integral salvation.”35 By this and through pastoral charity, the Church ought to respond to
PCP II, 88.
the dehumanizing and demoralizing situation on the society today through human promotion in order to achieve renewed integral evangelization. The fourth finding concerns the need for the Sons of Charity and other religious congregations to contextualize pastoral charity and its charism. In the conduct of pastoral ministry and mission, Religious congregations, especially those that originated from foreign missionaries, must first and foremost undergo the process of contextualization. This process greatly helps in the fulfillment of a ministry or mission. In the course of writing this paper, the author has come to value the capacity to assess and discern the context in which he finds himself. After reading the signs of the times and taking a closer look on the founder, Fr. Anizan, of its congregation, Sons of Charity, the author contemplated on the Word of God and on the teaching of the Supreme Pontiff regarding the subject of study—pastoral charity. As a Son of Charity, the author discovered and was inspired by the Charity-Love of “Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who went about evangelizing the crowds,” as Fr. Anizan puts it. As a result of this process called “Pastoral Spiral” or otherwise known as SeeJudge-Act, the author came to re-root pastoral charity in the Filipino context in response to the call of the General Chapter of the Sons and to assist the people who will be the recipient of the study, that is, the Sons of Charity in the Philippines and its mission areas. Indeed, in all humility, the process of contextualization and inculturation such as is expressed in this study helps in the appropriation of congregation charisms in a given context. It is of the author’s fervent hope that this study will be useful for other
congregations and would serve as a model for contextualization.
The fifth conclusion concerns the great help in the conduct of pastoral ministry afforded the author through the discovery of the richness of Fr. Anizan’s spirituality. The author “hits two birds with one stone” in the conduct of this study. This study primarily aims to provide help to the Sons of Charity in the Philippines in its efforts of contextualization and the people whom they are sent to serve. But at the same time, it has greatly helped the author in deepening his knowledge about Fr. Anizan and his spirituality, which will be valuable in being faithful to the founder in the carrying out of pastoral ministry. The whole process of this study was indeed an experience full of knowledge and wisdom, of faith and hope, and above all, of love.
C. Recommendations Now in the light of the whole study and the conclusions presented, the author will present several essential recommendations; these will be made under three headings: the Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish, the Sons of Charity in the Philippines and important areas for further study. Recommendations to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish. First, the author recommends that the whole community of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish—the Pastors, Religious, lay leaders and parishioners down to the BECs—will seriously consider the general and specific recommendations given by the author as directions for the pastoral program (in Chapter 5, section B; and also partly in Chapter 2, section B) of the parish. This may serve as a guide in the formulation of the Parish Pastoral Plan. Likewise the data contained therein can also be useful for whatever purpose the Pastoral Council deems appropriate. Second, the author recommends that in lieu of pastoral
charity, the Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish must consider prioritizing the Social Service Ministry because it is where pastoral charity is concretely realized and where the parish falls short in its ministries. Likewise, the special ministries to the children and youth (Parish Youth Council and Children Ministry), and the family (Family Life Apostolate) has to be given special attention. The Sons of Charity in the Philippines. First, the author humbly recommends to the Sons that this study be utilized in the conduct of pastoral ministry not only at the Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish but also in other mission areas of the Sons in the Philippines. The author believes that this study can be useful especially since it is a response to the present call of the General Chapter, it provides the data necessary for pastoral discernment and decision-making, and it provides direction for fidelity to the founder. Second, the author recommends that similar study regarding the other charisms of the congregation be done in the same manner or process of contextualization. Thirdly, the author recommends that the congregation continues in the process of contextualization since it is in its foundational stage in the Philippines. It is never a finished task for the Sons. evangelization. Recommendations for Further Studies. The author recognizes that there are many topics in the areas of the context of Philippine Church and society, “pastoral charity,” the Good Shepherd, and on the concept of Fr. Anizan that need additional study. The author suggests several related topics for further study. First, a more detailed and We must continue the task of renewal and integral
comprehensive social analysis has to be done in the Philippine Church and society today. Likewise, the same has to be done for the Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish. This could
help in highlighting more challenges and bring out more important issues that must be addressed by the Church. Second, a closer look at the other writings of Fr. Anizan especially those that were not yet available in the English language are also necessary. Providing more references about Fr. Anizan would greatly help in the deepening in his spirituality and concepts. This will also lead to the continuing effort of fidelity to the founder. Finally, a further biblical and theological research has to be done on the subject of “pastoral charity” and the Good Shepherd. Additional data on these subjects would provide depth and substance to the study.
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