Manila Archbishop Jose Cardinal Advincula presides over the Mass in celebration of the 70th founding anniversary of Caritas Manila at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion on Saturday, Nov. 25. (Photo by Kenneth Cedric M. Landazabal/ The Varsitarian)

MANILA Archbishop Jose Cardinal Advincula said the poor must have a voice in the community and not be treated as mere beneficiaries of cash aid, as he presided over a Mass celebrating the 70th anniversary of Caritas Manila.

“[The poor] are not just targets of ayuda. They are witnesses to hope and bearers of the Good News,” Advincula said in his homily on Saturday, Nov. 25, at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion. 

“They must be given a place in our conversations and decision-making in our communities. They must be given a chance to actively participate in their self-determination and integral human development,” he added.

In evangelizing and uplifting the poor, Caritas Manila, the archdiocesan social arm, goes beyond being a simple charitable and nongovernment organization, the archbishop stressed.

“We are a ministry in the Church, motivated by our love for Jesus, the poor man from Nazareth,” Advincula said. “In every man or woman that we care for, we see the face of Jesus.”

Advincula drew inspiration from the recently concluded Synod on Synodality in the Vatican, which called for deeper participation among the faithful, saying leaders must not dominate but be of service to the people.

Caritas must provide not only basic and financial needs but also spiritual aid, he added.

Kung gusto nating mabago ang kalunos-lunos na sitwasyon ng ating lipunan at ng mga dukha, kailangan nating isama ang pagpapalalim sa buhay-panalangin at pananampalataya,” he said.

Caritas marked its platinum anniversary with the theme “Pitong Dekada ng Paglalakbay Kasama si Kristo para sa Mahihirap.” 

The Mass was concelebrated by Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco.

Former Manila Archbishop Rufino Cardinal Santos – the first Filipino cardinal – founded Caritas on Oct. 1, 1953, with the goal of “uplifting the spirit and soul of the unfortunate members of our community, to assist them in all their needs and to bring the help of God in their miseries and distress,” according to its website.

Advincula serves as chairman of its board of trustees, while Ramon del Rosario Jr., president of holding firm Phinma Corp., sits as vice chairman. Sheila May S. Balagan and Ammiel B. Maestrado


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