The 3rd National Congress for CRAs
The program began at 8:00 o'clock in the evening where all the participants were introduced according to what parish they belong. St. Arnold Janssen Parish, Holy Cross, San Jose Ang Tagapagtanggol, St. Peter Parish, San Isidro Labrador (Capri), Parokya ng Mabuting Pastol, Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Sagrado Sacramento Parish, Christ the King of the Universe Parish, Holy Family Parish, Mother of the Redeemer Parish, San Isidro Labrador (Brgy. Silangan), BCPC-Batasan, Brgy. Batasan, Barangay Commonwealth, Brgy. Holy Spirit, SPCC-Cebu, and SPCC-Quezon City.
AC Wilson facilitated the expectation check. There were 9 groups formed and then did the reporting to the assembly. Some of the expectations were: To know more what is CRA/ SPCC, madagdagan ang kaalaman / ma-apply sa pamilya, kawan, pamayanan, to deepen and gain more knowledge about CRA and Learn what to share with the communities, among aothers...
The 2nd day, it started with a morning prayer held in the garden facilitated by Sr. Belen Santiago, SDS.
Sr. Irma Caumeran, SDS regional superior, gave the welcome address while Sr. Eloisa Holdiem, SDS (Project Director of SPCC Cebu City) review of previous congresses. She said it was a "pagbabalik-tanaw." A video presentation of the highlights of the first and second congress prepared by SPCC-Cebu was, then, shown.
The first speaker was Mr. Leopoldo Moselina who is a member of the Board of Directors of SPCC. He is also president of the Foundation for Grassroots Studies and Social Action (also known as Sabay Tayo Foundation. His topic was: The Ten Building Blocks of a Child Friendly Parish.
He asked: When are we acting against children?
When we abuse them, when we destroy our environment, denude our forests and pollute our rivers, when we tolerate or promote racism, ethnic hatred, terrorism, armed conflict and other forms of organized violence.
Also, when we allocate more money for military expenditures at the expense of basic social services to address poverty, hunger, malnutrition and disease;when we allow children to become victims of exploitative child labor, trafficking, prostitution, pornography and drugs; when we negate their need for self-esteem and their need to be nurtured and loved;
and finally, when we deny them the opportunity to be heard.
Children's rights are the most important of human rights.
Note that All major religions uphold the dignity and promote the rights of every person. Promotion of human rights is integral to the mission of local church communities. The most important of human rights are children's rights because they are the most vulnerable segments of our society.
Rev Fr. Rodrigo "Diggs" Salac, SVD was the 2nd speaker for the day. His topic was, "Protecting the Children" : Jesus' Silent Mandate (Mat 19:14)
"Establishing a child protection mechanism in the parish is setting into motion the sent mandate to save children that they may grow under suitable conditions, that they are protected from abuse.
"Putting in place this mechanism within the BEC Structure is giving equal priority to child protection program along with other parish program. That the children grow under suitable conditions is a priority task of the family and the political community. You cannot leave your children to your neighbors.
"Protection of children as structurally enshrined in cultures is a primary occupation of parents ever since the creation of human beings."
Fr. Antonio E. Labiao, Jr. was the next speaker. His topic: CRAs and BEC (The Role of Advocates in Building Child-Friendly Christian Community).
His introduction touched key points on the 20th anniversary of PCP II, 50th Anniversary of Vatican II on 2015, Synod of Bishops on "New Evangelization" on 2012.
Considering the reality/pastoral landscape:
-Villages and Gilidges (exclusive villages and slums)
The reality is: there is big number of parishioners,Apathy / indifference, Alienation/ marginalization of the poor, more and more children are victims of violence. In urban areas, there are Catholics who have no sense of God, no sense of sin.
Such that Integral evangelization has not trickled down to the ordinary people, no change in their relationship, in their culture. Walang pagbabago ng cultura sa ibaba, walang pakialaman.- No change in the environment – continuing marginalization of the poor, vulnerable sectors like children and women are always under threat
Next was Dr. Henry Ruiz, PhD, a religious educator, consultant for various development organizations. His topic: MGA BATA BILANG KAAGAPAY AT KAPAREHA: Sa paglikha ng Makabatang Kristiyanong Pamayanan. He began his talk with some experiences with Pinatubo erption and his visit to Mozambique. Children need to be part of decisions adults make.
The following are important to consider:
• Ang pananaw ng bata ay kaiba sa pananaw ng matatanda.
• Mayroon silang isip at may kakayahan silang mag-isip
• Dapat pakinggan ang boses nila at seryosohin ang kanilang sinasabi.
• Pinag-usapan ang karapatang -
• magpahayag ng sariling kaisipan at damdamin;
• Karapatang lumahok sa pagbuo ng desisyon;
• Pinag-uugatan ang karapatan ng mga bata sa paglahok – ito'y isang karapatang pangtao
The next speaker was Ms. Luz Malibiran, the Executive Director of CO Multiversity. . Her topic was: "ANG KAHALAGAHAN NG NETWORKING AT ALLIANCE BUILDING: Ano ang kahalagahan nito sa atin at sa hanay ng mga bata."
"Ang network ay ang pag-converge ng iba't-ibang group na magkakapareha ang layunin. Pumapasok tayo sa iba't-ibang network para:
Mapalawak ang saklaw natin at lumalawak ang kapangyarihan.
"Nag-alliance building tayo dahil tayo ay may problema na dapat tugunan. Sa child protection, ang mga issue ay child abuse, etc. Dapat i-translate ang issue into agenda. Ang agenda ay kalimitang policy. Kailangang ito ay naka-ugat sa isyu. Sa pag-build ng network, kailangang suriin ang isyu. Ito ay sinusuri kasama ang bata. "Isinusulong ang networking noong 1990 dahil limitado ang resources. Kung may network, maayos na nakikita ang papel na ginagampanan ng agency. Ang network ay sharing of resources. "
On the last day, October 19, Ms. Christine Boyd was invited to talk on "Living Life Abundantly to the Full with Gratefulness"
She began by saying that CRA also stands for Christ Related Advocacy. "My formula for a Life abundant, marami akong pinagdaanan na kabiyayaan. Every single person has gone through trials. It is how we deal with it that matters."
1. Gratefulness (Psalm 107:1) – When you have the spirit of gratefulness you have grace.
2. Humility (1Peter 5:5) – How do we live humility? It is the door to abundance. If we are humble we live in a state of grace.
3. Feeding our faith (2 Peter 1:3) – Maraming pagsubok. Pagkagising natin sa umaga, just on a day to day basis we need to feed our soul.
4. Truth (Mat 28:18-20) – Spreading the message of God. Humility sets us free from Pride and Arrogance.
"Ensuring the Rights of children to be safe and healthy. Everything starts at the bottom. Children follow what they observe. Every single person in the world needs to be coached on the word of God. Education gives empowerment.
"We should increase the ability of children to feel secure. We create a child friendly community by being obedient Christians, as Christ has instructed us to do, kung paano ka pinapakitaan ng environment hanggang sa pagtanda. The only things that matter is to truly serve God. That is why we are given the opportunity to live this life. We have to be right in the eyes of God."
In the midst of her talk, Ms. Boyd kept mentioning Fr. Francis Jordan, so passionate was she in speaking about the SDS founder's virtues of faith, courage and fidelity to God's word. The participants gave very positive feedback on this talk centering on God and His word.
Finally, it was the end of the congress. The Holy Mass (Eucharist) held at the chapel was the peak of the celebration. It summarized the gratitude of every heart present in this 3-day affair. We thank the DIVINE SAVIOR FOR ALL that He has given to SPCC and its partners. We pray that the coming years will still be blessed abundantly as every CRA commits herself to continue serving the LORD thru the protection of children and women.