03/19/2015, 00.00
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Manila: feast day of St Joseph for the poor

In Quiapo Parish, a group of faithful hand out food three times each Friday. This is a concrete way to help the poor, and the homeless, answering the pope's call to arms against the globalisation of indifference. Last year, the association celebrated its tenth anniversary.

Manila (AsiaNews/CBCP) - Devotees of the Black Nazarene and of Saint Joseph, whose solemnity is today, have been helping the poor and homeless in Quiapo Parish, Manila, by providing them with food each Friday, at three different times of the day.

The group, which calls itself 'Lugaw ni San Jose' in honour of Christ's foster father, said it came together as a way to express gratitude for the heavenly blessings Saint Joseph and Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno had given its members.

"God has always been good to us. We are only returning the favour," said Emil Mendoza, the man charged with handing out small bread buns. "As Catholics, we must extend charity to our less fortunate brothers and sisters".

Still, what resources they have, they cannot meet the daily needs of all the poor in Quiapo, many of who go to bed hungry, he explained.

The food that is provided includes a bowl of soup, some bread and other victuals. It is handed out each Friday, 'Quiapo Day,' at three different times: 6 am, noon and 6 pm.

Although the line-up is always full, everyone gets a bit of food most of the time, "come rain or shine," noted another volunteer, Claire Misajon Caspe. 

In 2014, the association celebrated its first ten years of activity. Its leaders are grateful for the help individuals and associations provided them over the years. Anyone who wants to help and make a donation can do so via the Lugaw ni San Jose Facebook page.

During his recent apostolic trip to the Philippines (Asia's main Catholic nation, with East Timor), the pope reiterated the need to help the poor, children and all those affected by the natural disasters that have recently hit on country.

For this special time of Lent, Pope Francis also said that the Church must spur the faithful to fight against the "globalisation of indifference" by supporting humanitarian initiatives.

In view of this, CBCP-NASSA (Caritas Philippines) plans to hold its general meeting next May in Rome in order to follow the path set by the pontiff, which is to build a "Church for the poor."

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