As a Christians we are commanded to spread the good news by Our anointing in the Spirit in Baptism and Confirmation empowers us, like disciples did in the early church, to proclaim the Good News to the "poor". By our words and actions, we encourage those who are poor in their spiritual, economic or social lives to look to God for peace and health and to become part of the believing community. To evangelize means to show this path to teach the art of living to others. But we are also called specifically to proclaim to those who are less fortunate, less privileged than we are. For me, as a missionary working at Noaun in the Diocese of Buxar, it gives me immense joy to work in this area where in we experience what is meant to be a real missionary because when I look at in the context of pastoral level.
I find still people are in search of the real light in this locality, in this background we are doing it more concretely becoming a missionary in this place, where mostly Hindu religion resides, we are trying to do the ground work of teaching the value of life in order to bring the people to the path of light. Generally, people are very good that makes us to venture into the place of Hindu villages where they are respecting us very much there are some people who are ready to accept the Christianity. People are ready to accept the Christianity, but the problem lies, that the society discriminates those people who accept Christianity. Some are coming regularly that fulfils our primary essence of evangelization in pastoral level. Adopting the languages, signs, symbols, cultures and their practices that really bring us close to the people and much more than this is participating in the joys and struggles of their lives. We are regularly visiting families and praying for them that makes them to feel that we are meant for them in caring and leading them to right path.
And we are also trying to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defending the rights of the poor and needy, in fact we are focusing on the mushahar community for the well-being and upliftment of these group. Because their economic and social status is very low and, in a way, they are considered to be low caste that makes them to feel inferior. In the village also not even, single person is well-educated, leave out the well-educated, not at all studying so that is the condition of the community, so we are concretely helping them to find job and giving them works in our mission be it in the field. We are also teaching tuition to their children’s they come every day in the evening, and we are trying to make them understand the value of education by teaching and disciplining them. Apart from this we are taking up to start a skill development centre that they may be equipped with some skills for their livelihood.
It is good to be a missionary listening to the cry of the poor people in the various level such as empowering in the spiritual level, educational level and in the social level defending for their rights. ___ Anuj Hemrom, CMF [Claret Manzil, Noaun – Buxar, India]
Exercising a preferential option for the most disadvantaged and marginalized people, the Claretian Missionaries in the Philippines organized in 1996 the Claret Samal Foundation, Inc. (CSFI) specifically to cater to the challenge the Bajau situation poses to its mission in Basilan Province, Philippines. Duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), CSFI hopes to raise the cause of and issues affecting the Bajaus, an indigenous minority group in the country, in the proper fora, as well as to be an efficient conduit of resources for the benefit of these communities. CSFI aims to help build communities of empowered Bajaus based on their own indigenous culture where there is equality, justice and quality of life.
There have been some government and non-government initiatives (not only in the Maluso area) to help the Bajaus that have ended in apparent failure as these have not sufficiently taken into serious consideration the unique cultural heritage of this people that does not easily mix well with the ways and structures of the dominant society. It is also through this cultural insensitiveness that many interventions were not sustainable. Thus, until present there are many social welfare problems among Samal Bajau communities, and in terms of economic status they are still one of the poorest among all of the indigenous groups in the Philippines. The preservation of their culture is at risk since the government has lack of deep understanding about their cultural heritage. Thus, CSFI envisioned to mitigate this kind of inadequacies, with an objective to help preserve and promote the vanishing culture and communities of the Samal Bajau.
CSFI started with trying to understand, to live and share the culture of this people. It has five program components: 1) organizing, 2) education, 3) health, 4) livelihood and 5) Culture Preservation. Part of the organizing component is to empower Samal Bajaus as dignified persons, who are conscious and at the same time takes pride of their being uniquely distinct, empowered to live in their own ways and culture, and able to integrate themselves in the mainstream society as they equally access to available social services and resources.
At this time, the community of Samal Bajaus in Teheman, Townsite, Maluso, Basilan Province, conceived already their eight-point development plan for their area or community. They have established potable water system and alternative learning center these past years. In terms of education, there were already nine Samal Bajaus students who were able to graduate in tertiary level, supported by our Foundation. CSFI also extended educational help to another Bajau community in the nearby island of Pangasaan, Lantawan Basilan.
Called to serve and to go forth in our missions, the Claretians of Basilan unceasingly commit themselves tirelessly, to work for total human development, inspired by the life, work and words of our very own Father Founder, St. Anthony Mary Claret. ___ Martin Ele CMF [CSFI Director, Basilan - Philippines]
MS 1 (Cf. CC 2; Dir 26.)