Friday, August 22, 2008

Message of Ambassador Henrietta de Villa

On the launching of PnP Catechetical Modules on September 10, 2004 at the Paco Catholic School Auditorium at 1:00 p.m.

I was just told last night that I have to be here to talk to you about Pondo ng Pinoy. We have an event today for the Sovereign Military Order of Malta since we have a visitor, the Archbishop Emeritus of Birmingham, England. I have to beg off for the afternoon happenings because when Msgr. Gerry calls, no is never in my vocabulary. Besides, this is for the catechists and the education committee people of parishes, and we owe you a lot.

I must congratulate you for what you have just launched, the 12 modules of Pondo ng Pinoy, the handiwork of Msgr. Gerry, the Archdiocesan Catechetical Ministry and MAPSA, make up in essence the Bible of Pondo ng Pinoy. And what you have done now is very good. I shall recommend to the Board that the catechists give us a sample of what you did today – na mailahad nyo rin sa Board members ang mga aralin na inyongbinuo para sa pagpapalaganap ng PnP sa mga pamily at parokya. Thank you…thank you really….on behalf of the PnP Board of Trustees.

Since its launching on June 11 and 12, where is PnP now? What has been the progress of its becoming the “patungong langit” ng ating mga yagit, pati na rin ng mga sakim? Yung “Anumang magaling, kahit maliit, basta’t malimit ay patungong langit” vision of Archbishop Rosales, what is its status now?

Let me go to the technicals first:

  • The PnP board of Trustees has been formed, composed of 8 bishops, 2 priests, 1 religious sister and 4 lay people…chaired by Archbishop Gaudencio B. Rosales.
  • PnP is already registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and its temporary office is housed at Caritas Manila.
  • To date some 2M pesos have been counted as donations (in the form of checks, bills, coins mostly) from various entities
  • 4 basic committees have been organized: 1) Executive Committee composed of the Chairperson, Vice-chairperson, Treasurer, Secretary, and the chairs of other 3 basic committees (election of officers will be held on Monday 13 Sept. during the BOT meeting; 2) Program Committee - in charge of education, promotion and screening of projects; 3) Finance Committee – in charge of fund management; 4) Audit Committee – for check and balance (fiscalizer)
  • The Program Committee which carries the load of moving the PnP has met twice. In its first meeting, many questions from the public and from the participating dioceses surfaced…some of which were
    • How will the PnP program blend with existing or projected diocesan and parochial pastoral plans?
    • What is the relationship between the Church and the PnP as a community foundation
    • How will the eternal and local offices function …their connectedness and coordination
    • How do we envision the education and promotion aspects of PnP
  • To respond to these basic issues and concerns, the Program Committee has prepared a Position Paper for presentation to the PnP Board of Trustees during its meeting on Monday Sept. 13.
  • Perhaps of interest to you, would be a recommendation of the Program Committee that for inclusive language , we shall shift to using education in place of catechesis / catechetical
  • Another recommendation is to adopt the concept of subsidiarity in relation to the central and local organization of PnP (the foundation can have a subsidiary in every participating diocese and apostolic vicariate)
  • We shall also be needing as soon as possible another set of education modules for the other sectors like offices, markets, commercial institutions, the “unchurched” groups, etc.

Let me share with an incident which perhaps is the best gauge for evaluating the status of PnP in the consciousness of our people.

Last Thursday 9 September, the Holy Redeemer parish invited my husband to give a sharing on his devotion to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, their patroness. It seems that when they browsed the internet for the history of the devotion to Our Lady, the name of my husband was mentioned as a faithful devotee and promoter of devotion to her here in the Philippines.

After his sharing, one parishioner told me, “Naku kailangan pala lahat tayo maging devoto ng Our Lady of the Sacred Heart – kasi hopeless na ang Pilipinas. Sayang yung PnP ni Archbishop Rosales – ito n asana yong hope nating mga hopeless. Ngayon nasapawan na ng Bayanihan Funds. Lahat doon na nag-co-contribution, sa gusto man o sa ayaw.

I wanted to tell him that he got it all wrong. Because putting PnP in line with Bayanihan Funds is reducing it to merely a fund raising activity. PnP is not simply a fund raising - activity It is greater than this – greater and beyond this. It is life. Buhay – buhay na nakakaranas ng langit ngayon ditto sa ating lupa, sa ating panahon. At uri ng buhay rin na magpapatotoo ng langit para sa atin sa kanilang buhay. Kaya dalawang buhay ang sinisuguto ng PnP – buhay ngayon at buhay na darating.

It is true that PnP has a fund-raising component. Fund-raising is not its raison d’eter…the 25 centavos, the savings are our tools for our workout, like the treadmill or the stationary bind we grind to dissolve the fat of selfishness, greed, corruption, while at the same time building our muscles of sharing, caring, gathering. The 25 centavos daily saving is what we may call the concrete expression of the interior disposition, the mindset, the heart decision that sees and accepts the other, especially the poor and marginalized as part of me. When PnP is lived this way , then Pondo ng Pinoy will be understood and appreciated as not only a value or a method or an operation – but a personal and collective paradigm for fraternity – the courage of a new humanity.

You, each one of you here, you will be the movers of PnP education, catechesis is the churchy term. Yes you will be the prime movers, the forwarders of the PnP education. But you have to become its first converts. Because Pondo ng Pinoy calls for, requires and demands a conversion – a change of heart. Nothing more and nothing less. A change of heart that will re-discover the meaning of fraternity, of compassion as being present to others in their suffering. More than that, of being pro-active in removing the root cause of their suffering, aware that doing so could cost you your suffering, too. A change of heart that will re-discover and re-present the meaning of love as all that I am and that I have, I give to you – today, everyday, all the days.

Other than this, we have no option actually. Now it is fiscal crisis. Tomorrow it could be death. Worst of all, forever and ever it could be hell.

It is up to you. It is up to all of us in this auditorium to make Pondo ng Pinoy work. To give Pondo ng Pinoy as the new impulse and the new hope for our people.

Think about it. Better still, get moving and do it.

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