Msgr. Rey Penagunda, the Cebu archdiocese’s vicar general, celebrates Mass during the launching of Cebu Caritas’ Justice and Peace Program at the Balamban Sports Complex on Dec. 10, 2022. CEBU CARITAS

By CBCP News

December 13, 2022

Cebu City

The Catholic Church’s concern for the people, especially the poor, must go beyond the needs for mere survival, an archbishop said.

Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu said the church’s care for them is more importantly for their “integral well-being”.

“Love for neighbor includes upholding their dignity as fellow human beings and as children of God,” Palma said. “This is the true meaning of our faith and this is the true consequence of our love.”

The archbishop made the statement in his message for the formal launching of Cebu Caritas’ justice and peace program at the Balamban Sports Complex in Cebu City on Dec. 10.

The archbishop thanked Cebu Caritas for organizing the program as one of its tripod programs of faith through a grassroots-based education and information campaign.

He said this will hopefully continue to empower the marginalized, who will become not just passive receivers, but active agents of their own well-being and development.

The activity, which carried the theme “Good Governance through People’s Empowerment and Participation”, coincided with the worldwide observance of International Human Rights Day.

In its advocacy statement, the Cebu Caritas stressed, “It is not enough that the Anawim (the lost, the least and the last) are provided aid, relief, food, health care, shelter, and other basic necessities.”

“They should also be made aware of their basic human rights. Through a grassroots-based education and information program, the Anawim are enabled and empowered to exercise their rights as citizens and to actively participate in governance and to hold public officials to account,” it stated.

Dozens of chapel leaders of the Parroquia de San Francisco de Asis in Balamban, Cebu and Parish Caritas volunteers from district 5 parishes joined the activity.

The event was co-organized by the Balamban Parish Caritas and its Justice and Peace committee headed by Atty. Danrey Cabataña, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Cebu Chapter, and the University of San Carlos School of Law and Governance.

Volunteer lawyers from the IBP-Cebu and law students from the University of San Carlos School of Law and Governance also offered free legal services such as consultations, notarization of simple documents, drafting of legal documents, and assistance in national ID registration.


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