St. Hannibal Empowerment Centre

St. Hannibal Empowerment Center (SHEC) is a religious organization of the Rogationists of the Heart of Jesus. It is a community of Spirit-led persons which aims to follow Jesus Christ in his union with his Father and in his proclamation of the kingdom of God. It is an inserted community among the squatters. The goal of SHEC is to empower the poor people of Metro Manila, Philippines, through housing, livelihood, education, health, waste management, youth and values formation.

Location: Pasay City, Metro Manila

Mission: Its mission is to empower the poorest of the poor and catalyze an integral Christian transformation of urban poor communities in collaboration with the local Church by a holistic process that addresses concerns on housing, livelihood, education, health, environment and sanitation, justice and peace, youth formation and values formation. The goals of SHEC consist of assisting in alleviating poverty among urban poor communities in Pasay and other cities in Metro Manila; and building the foundation of community transformation through intensive values formation. Its objectives are, specifically, to facilitate the organization and formation of people’s organization that are self-sufficient and empowered, facilitate the values and spiritual formation and capability building of urban poor leaders, to assist the urban poor / informal settlers of Pasay and other cities in Metro Manila in realizing their dreams of achieving security of tenure through in-city relocation, to facilitate the implementation of economic programs and basic social services in urban poor communities, and to facilitate access to formal education in favor of the poor and deserving students.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

October Highlights

Rogate: Being in God’s Presence—A Melodious Life of Service Attuned to the Divine Music. St. Hannibal was once asked: Why do people go wrong? The pious “man of God” (a title given to St. Hannibal by those who knew him personally) answered, “because they are not accustomed to being in God’s presence.
Being in God’s presence was second nature to St. Hannibal. Even as a child, he was already aware of this precious treasure in his life. Of this, St. Hannibal claimed: “The Lord has granted me no supernatural gifts, except spirit of faith and the awareness of His divine presence. Since I was a child when I was with the Cistercian fathers, He visited me with gentle emotions—interior joy. When he excited me to love Him, I knew that it was God’s will for me to stay in His presence.
St. Hannibal’s spirituality of being in God’s presence resulted in dedicating his life in serving the poor. He was then very much like Jesus, who, as a result of his connectivity or oneness with his Father, was poured out in mission for total salvation (salvation of humanity and creation), most especially the poor.
Being in God’s presence may be likened to a musical piece. When one is attuned to God, one’s life will exude harmonious notes, constituting sounds that form a very pleasant divine melody echoing in the lives of the poor in the form of decent homes, sustainable livelihood and solidarity with victims of calamities such as typhoons.
Both metaphorically and literally, the aforementioned spirituality of being in God’s presence as expressed in divine melodies happened in SHEC when, last October 22, 2011, the Essentials Choir staged a concert entitled, Sing Praise, Build Homes. The proceeds went to SHEC’s Phase 3 housing project and to the victims of recent typhoons.
The following lines from the concert show a glimpse of the spirituality of being in God’s presence that results in the proclamation of good news to the poor:
Yes, God will be all in all! God will fully reign! His Kingdom will prevail! We will then go to a better place. We keep this vision anchored firmly in our hearts despite seemingly hopeless situations, for we believe in a faithful God whose love endures forever. This is a cause for rejoicing. With jubilant hearts, we glorify and praise God for making humanity’s and creation’s dream of salvation as his unwavering vision. We exult in his will that the homeless of Phase 3 be given decent homes.
How is it to be saved? Jesus has a simple tip as written in Mt 25, 31-46: Any good done to Jesus merits salvation. In this context, Jesus says, “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do it unto me.” Who are the least? They are the poorest of the poor, the hungry, the oppressed, the homeless like the families residing at Phase 3. Jesus’ passion is to shower the poor with compassion—that kind of mercy which is intimately wedded with justice and love. It is not only about prayers and sympathies. More important, it takes concrete forms like food and decent homes. Jesus invites us to imbibe his compassion and share our blessings with the poor. This is an inevitable way to salvation. The concrete way presented now to us is to be compassionate to the homeless of phase 3. In doing so, as one family, as children of God, we can wholeheartedly affirm and proclaim, “HOW LOVELY IS YOUR DWELLING PLACE”.
Yes, how lovely indeed is God’s dwelling place, which is also our dwelling place, especially if we work for God’s Kingdom of love, peace, justice, truth and prosperity for all—for humans and the rest of creation. Doing so will not be that easy. Conflicts abound. Even Jesus was not spared of the cross. But the story never ends there. God’s vindication will have its last say. Jesus resurrected. He emerged as a victor because he held on to God’s vision for a better world. It is worthwhile indeed to keep on holding to God’s vision for SHEC’s Phase 3 project. With generous people like you who cheerfully share in Jesus’ compassionate heart, the poor are ever assured that God’s love will last forever. This, needless to say, is an indispensable way of fulfilling the commandments: love of God which is done through love of the neighbor.  Yes, being in love with God is necessarily being in love with the neighbor, especially the least. If you take on the compassion of Jesus, doing the commandments will be second nature. You’d love doing it even if you can’t fully understand why.