Saturday, March 24, 2012

Filipinos abroad contribute to youth programs—Church official

MANILA, March 24, 2012—Filipinos working abroad help in maintaining the various programs of the Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) through their generous donations, according to ECY executive secretary Fr. Conegundo Garganta.
Garganta has visited the Filipino community in Doha, Qatar last March 16 to appeal to ‘kababayans’ working here to become supporters/benefactors of the youth programs initiated by the youth commission.
“Their support is through financial assistance. We know that our ‘kababayans’ working there are also experiencing difficulties but we believe that despite the difficulties and struggles, it cannot be discounted that they can still show or manifest their generosity and concern for the Church in the Philippines,” Garganta said.
The initial appeal to contribute to the programs of ECY was initiated by a Filipino Capuchin priest, Fr. Zacharias Parra, OFM Cap, to which the Filipino community responded positively.
The financial assistance given may not be that big, Garganta continues, but you can see and feel that they are eager and willing to help.
He hopes that a continued relationship with the Filipino communities in Doha, will assure ECY of assistance from ‘kababayans’ in the said country.
The Capuchin-ministered parishes follow some dynamics and guidelines for appeals done by priests coming from the Philippines.
“The Capuchins in UAE do not want that the appeal for help be made through 2nd collection, at this point in time, it must be made through private capacity or responses from ‘kababayans’ who will be responding to the said request,” Garganta shared.
He added that the Capuchins are trying to avoid a negative picture the continuous would create in the parishes since more and more priests come from the Philippines also to ask for help.
“They are observing also some restrictions from the government, especially the freedom to practice faith and religion,” he added.
Appeals received form Doha come in a subtle way. As of now, there is still no concrete response from ‘kababayans’ in the said country, although an initial amount was already brought home by Garganta.
When asked about his opinion on the generosity of ‘kababayans’ abroad, he pointed out that it is not only programs or projects here in the Philippines that overseas Filipinos are willing to help.
During calamities, Filipinos abroad automatically initiate a fund drive to help the needy back home.
“It is their way of extending themselves, they believe they are also responsible to their kababayans’ at home,” Garganta said.
“The natural goodness of a Filipino always comes in, which is an identity. Many of our ‘kababayans’ are naturally concerned for their home country. ‘Yun ang nakikita kong kabutihan sa ating mga kababayan na nagtatrabaho sa abroad. They are open to share the blessing of the fruits of their hard work. And it is already a part of our culture, ‘di nila hinuhubad ‘yun ganoong consciousness and awareness, ‘yun pagiging matulungin ay andoon pa din,” the priest commented.
During his Qatar visit, Garganta stayed at the Our Lady of Rosary Parish in Doha with parish priest Fr. Peter P.M., OFM Cap, together with Fr. Zacharias Parra, a fellow capuchin. He was also introduced to Bishop Camillo Ballin, the Apostolic Vicar of the Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia.
In 2010, Garganta has also made a similar appeal to the Filipinos in Dubai which generated a positive response. Although minimal, the donations received were used in youth projects initiated in the same year.
The priest also calls on other generous benefactors to help in maintaining youth programs by sending aid to their office. Interested benefactors may call +063 (02) 527-9567 or (Jandel Posion)


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