Talavera House of Prayer, Cebu City – To deepen its commitment to its social action works, the Order of Augustinian Recollects (OAR) in the Philippines launched the “Heart Solidarity” campaign at the Talavera House of Prayer-Recoletos last November 6.
The launching of the campaign was attended by Prior Provincial Rev. Fr. Dionisio Selma, OAR, 17 other Recollect priests and religious, and over 50 lay people from the Order’s different parishes and academic institutions, including USJ-R.
“Heart Solidarity campaign is the concrete response of the Prior General to the calling of Pope Francis to take better care of creation, which involves the human person,” said Fr. Selma.
Fr. Selma was referring to the declaration by the Order’s Prior General Rev. Fr. Miguel Miro, OAR of November 8, 2015 as “Solidarity from the Heart Day,” which seeks to highlight the Order’s social action works.
In the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno, which has jurisdiction over the Order’s missions in the Philippines and Sierra Leone, the Recollects held a two-day talks and sharing on the Order’s social action works at the Recollects’ house of prayer in Quiot Pardo, Cebu City to mark the celebration.
The talks by invited speakers revolved around the theme: “Heart Solidarity: Recoletos called to seek out the Lost, the Last and the Least.”
Fr. Selma, who presided over the Holy Mass for the creation and launching of the Heart Solidarity campaign, said the Prior General wished that all members of the Recollect family, including the laity, be involved in the Order’s social action works.
“We need to mobilize the laity for a wider reach,” Fr. Selma said. “Becoming a Good Samaritan is not an exclusive calling of the religious.”
The first day of the event saw Fr. Tito Soquiño, OSA and Fr. Tony Salas, SVD talking about the topics “Cry of the poor: From the perspective of Pope Francis and the Philippine situation” and “Cry of the poor: Towards an integral response and commitment” respectively.
In the morning of the second day, November 7, the delegates performed a concrete act of taking care of creation by planting jackfruit seedlings in the 10-hectare Recoletos Ecopark in Maslog, Danao City, northern Cebu.
In the afternoon, Fr. John Leydon, MScC talked about “Cry of the earth: Living Laudato Si’” while Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of the diocese of San Carlos facilitated discussions on the topic “Community of the poor.”
Bro. Jaazeal Jakosalem, OAR, chair of the Commission on Social and Ecological Concerns-Recoletos (CSEC-R) said Heart Solidarity campaign looks to “centralize the social action efforts” of the Order for a more efficient implementation.
“Before going to the campaign, we need to reexamine, to assess, to be informed about the meaning of our campaign,” Bro. Jakosalem said.
“The conferences and seminars are meant to embolden us, to deepen more our commitment so that when an untoward event that needs our attention occurs, everybody is committed, everybody is aware of what the Order will do,” he added.
Among the social action works of the Order include housing for families displaced by calamities, socio-economic livelihood projects, and scholarships, among others.
“Working from the heart is a very Augustinian Recollect virtue,” Fr. Selma said. “You may be taking good care of creation, you may be looking after the needs of others, but if you are just forced to do it, if you are not doing it out of love, you might as well drop whatever you are doing.”