04/07/2009, 00.00
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True heartfelt charity rather than a “stimulus package” is needed, says Manila cardinal

by Santosh Digal
In his Palm Sunday message, Card Gaudencio Rosales tells the faithful that in times of economic crisis even a “simple donation” can be the sign of a true desire for change. Since 1975 Caritas Manila promotes Easter initiative in favour of the needy.
Manila (AsiaNews) – No amount of government “stimulus package” money will be enough to help the poor in this economic downturn, said Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales. In a Palm Sunday message he called on everyone to give more for those in need as times get harder.

“No amount of ‘stimulus package’ will begin recovery if change does not start where it should—the heart,” the cardinal said in a pastoral letter read on Palm Sunday. Even a small donation can show one’s commitment to “change” and provide “help” for the poor.

Since 1975 the archdiocese of Manila has promoted a programme called “Alay Kapwa”, in which people are encouraged to offer their brothers and sisters in need what they have.

Implemented by Caritas Manila, Alay Kapwa provides scholarships to over 8,000 poor but deserving students, runs charity health clinics that serve over 50,000 cases a year, and manages livelihood and job placement centres and micro-finance programmes for the poor.

“To have the spirit of Alay Kapwa one does not have to be wealthy or powerful or influential,” Cardinal Rosales said; “you need only to be good and committed to your neighbour, [. . .] generous, desirous like Jesus to serve”.

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