GIVE love to make the country a better place to live in.
Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle gave the advice during launch of the coffee table book Love for the Poor: The Story of Caritas Manila on Tuesday at the Ayala Museum in Makati City (Metro Manila) in commemoration of Caritas Manila’s more than 60 years of
serving the poor and the needy.
Tagle said the book tells how the power of love has transformed Caritas over the last 63 years into what the charity is today.
“Love must circulate. And the circulation of love happens when we receive it and after receiving it we give it. People who cannot receive love won’t know how to give love. In love, we’re all beggars, we’re all products of love. No one becomes a full human being without receiving love as a gift, but love will die if we keep it to ourselves,” he added.
Tagle, also chairman of the board of Caritas, said the greatest joy that anyone could experience is not just to receive love but to see how people are enriched when that love is circulated.
“That is what we are celebrating today, 60 years of love, moving lives and the lives that are moved, move in turn other lives. So we hope this coffee table book commemorating 60 years of love organized through Caritas Manila will generate a fuller history. So we are already inviting you to the 100th anniversary of Caritas,” he added
Tagle told beneficiaries and recipients of Caritas assistance not to remain recipients of love, but instead generate love wherever they are and “you will make this country really a better place to live in.
“Mahal kayo ng Diyos dahil nagmamahal kayo sa kanya. Kung wala na kayong maibigay, meron pa rin, pag-ibig. Hindi niyo na bibilhin pa, hindi na kailangan i-order, madaling ibigay ang pag-ibig na binigay natin [God loves you because you love Him. Give love when you can no longer give anything else. You don’t have to buy it, you don’t have to order it, it’s easy to give it],” the archbishop said.
The 180-page coffee table book took a year to be completed. It is authored by Dr. Isagani Cruz, president of The Manila Times College.
Proceeds of the book will help sustain the Youth Servant Leadership and Education Program, which provides educational assistance to almost 5,000 students nationwide.
Ramon del Rosario Jr., Caritas vice chairman, said the book was designed to pay tribute to the men and women of Caritas and to all the people who made their work possible.
“The coffee table book tells the story of love received and given over the course of Caritas Manila’s six-decade journey of helping the poor and the vulnerable in our society,” he added.
Without the book, Caritas trustee lawyer Jing Gonzales Montinola said, the story of Caritas would not clearly exist as that of a multitude.
She recalled that Caritas was established in 1953 by the Archbishop Rufino Cardinal Santos as Catholic Charities at an office they shared with the Parent-Teacher Association of Colegio de San Juan de Letran in Inrtramuros, Manila.
Since then, through the able leadership of the Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin, Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales and Tagle and other Church leaders, the charity has grown to encompass programs that answer pressing and immediate needs such as child feeding, basic health care, disaster relief and long-term self-sufficiency projects, such as scholarship, micro finance and entrepreneurship and livelihood training.
“These projects that sustain Caritas include the volunteer work of Caritas scholars and the many laity people willing to lend a hand,” Montinola said.
She mentioned that the restorative justice program, which gives prisoners and convicts a new chance in life, and the rebuilding of churches and chapels in typhoon-ravaged areas.
“When we give to causes like Caritas, we do not really expect anything in return. We give from the heart. At the same time, however, people give to Caritas because they believe it is effective,” Montinola pointed out.
“I know that through Caritas I am able to help people. Caritas does not concern itself with big words like unemployment or justice, it simply helps in keeping a deserving student in school or providing livelihood for a starting entrepreneur or a second chance to a former convict,” she said.
Fr. Anton Pascual, executive director, Caritas Manila, said they conduct charity work not only in Metro Manila but throughout the archipelago.
While Caritas continues to give direct financial, medical and occupational assistance to the poor, they also look into structural causes of poverty.
“It now devotes more time to social development and social entrepreneurship programs, since these have more lasting impact on the lives of the poor,” Pascual said.