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Inculturating Fr.

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

APPROVAL SHEET

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 Fr. Gabriel


Goullin, SC
Member 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
Date

Acknowledgments

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 fatherly-
brotherly 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. Quezon City: Claretian
Publications, 2001. 118)
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
Theology)
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 Page
A. Background of the Study ................................................. 1
B. Statement of the Problem ................................................ 3
C. Objectives ........................................................................ 3
D. Delimitation ..................................................................... 4
E. Significance of the Study ................................................. 5
F. Review of Related Literature............................................ 6
G. Methodology .................................................................... 7

II. THE FILIPINO CONTEXT


2.1 The Philippine Society and Church in General ............... 9
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 ..................................... 27
2.3 Challenges for Today ........................................................ 33

III. 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 .............................................. 49

IV. WHAT IS PASTORAL CHARITY?


A. Biblical Foundation ..........................................................
55
B. Benedict XVI on Charity ..................................................
64

V. THE CONTEXTUALIZATION OF PASTORAL CHARITY


A. Pastoral Charity in the Filipino Context ........................... 69
B. Directions for Pastoral Initiatives ..................................... 78

VI. CONCLUSION
A. Summary of the Study........................................................ 88
B. Findings ............................................................................. 91
C. Recommendations ............................................................. 96

VIII. Bibliography
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. The parish is under the ecclesiastical

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)
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.

1
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

jurisdiction based on population as follows: 30% of the respondents from the

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 three-

dimensional 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 re-

rooting 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 full-
fledge 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

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,
3
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 much-

touted 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
5
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.

7
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. Cause-

oriented 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

8
The 2006-2007 Catholic Directory of the Philippines (Quezon City: Claretian Publications,
2006).
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
9
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

10
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Website, available from
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

11
Jhonas Enopia, SC et.al., “Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish Rapid Community Appraisal,”
Inter-Congregational Theological Center, 2007.
Economic Background. 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. Others are selling Pinoy food and

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.
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 non-

Catholic. 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. The second novitiate followed and ultimately had their

profession on June 11, 1922.

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

12
Joseph Rodier, SC, trans. by Lorenzo Lortie,SC., A Spirituality for Our Times: Emile Anizan-
Founder 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

13
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 multi-

faceted 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
14
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

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
16
Anizan, Commentaries, 38-39, 41-42.
17
Raymond E. Brown, S.S., An Introduction to the New Testament (New York: Doubleday, 1997),
533-534.
18
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 self-

giving 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

19
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. Love perfects knowledge, which is imperfect. The Corinthians strive for

knowledge, but Paul tells them that this is symptomatic of their immaturity. The

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)

20
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 8-

9. 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.

22
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; 4:6-

7; 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

23
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
24
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 well-

being 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 kagandahang-

loob 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.

25
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 self-

serving 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 12:29-

31). 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

27
Ibid., 147-148.
28
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 Charity-

Love 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

29
John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Asia (New Delhi, India: November 6, 1999), 71-
72.
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.


30
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

31
Ecclesia in Asia, 140.
32
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

33
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 kagandahang-

loob 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 well-

rooted 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 self-

seeking. 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
34
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
35
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 See-

Judge-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. We must continue the task of renewal and integral

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

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.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

References and Periodicals


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