Card Tagle: training social workers to offer the poor ‘quality service’

Caritas Philippines opens a social action academy in Tagaytay City to provide technical training and improve diocesan preparedness. The Archbishop of Manila hopes the centre “will not only contribute to the Philippines and to Asia but to the growth of wisdom and professionalism to the Church.”

Manila (AsiaNews/CBCPNews) – Caritas Philippines yesterday inaugurated a social action academy, the Center for Resiliency, Empowerment and Integral Development (CREED).

During the ceremony, Card Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle (pictured) said that the Filipino Church was renewing its commitment to train humanitarian workers and those who work for development “so that our service for the poor would really be of quality.”

The Archbishop of Manila, who has been president of Caritas Internationalis since 2015 and was appointed a few days ago as the new prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, attended the opening ceremony along with Mgr Gabriele Caccia, outgoing apostolic nuncio.

The event started with a Mass officiated by Mgr Caccia, along with Card Tagle, Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, Caritas Philippines’ new chairman, and his predecessor, Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona of Caceres.

In his homily, the cardinal expressed hope that the facility will fulfil the strategic goals set by Caritas, and “not only contribute to the Philippines and to Asia but to the growth of wisdom and professionalism to the Church.”

Located at the bishops’ Basic Ecclesial Community Center compound in Tagaytay City, the facility aims at improving the overall organisational competence of diocesan social action centres. 

For Fr Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of Caritas Philippines, CREED is a "gift" that the agency offers to the Filipino Catholic Church. It “is not only a building, it is the whole capacity strengthening the programme for the network dioceses,” Fr Gariguez said.

Currently, the centre offers a graduate scholarship programme in Masters in Social Services and Development (MSSD) in partnership with the Manila-based Asian Social Institute. 

Fr Gariguez explained that the modular programme was first attended by social action directors and lay pastoral workers from all over the country. “We intend to offer more courses to meet the needs of the diocesan workers, civil society and faith-based organisations in increasing our capacity in service and pastoral ministry,” he added.

CREED is meant to provide technical expertise to improve capabilities at the diocesan level in development-sector-based engagement, humanitarian response, climate adaptation and environment sustainability-driven development work and advocacy actions.

Ultimately, “We need to harness the required qualifications to render maximum possible service to the people we serve,” Fr Gariguez said.

(Photo credit: Roy Lagarde)

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