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.

Monday, February 13, 2012

December 2011 Highlights

Rogate: Welcoming Jesus into compassionate hearts. The sons of St. Hannibal are called Rogationists of the Heart of Jesus, because like Jesus’ heart, their hearts are fountains of compassion for the poor and the oppressed. This is also the heart of everyone who shares in the Rogationists’ spirituality of compassion which is very evident in the life of SHEC. December 2011 is especially memorable in this regard for it underlines the birth of Jesus into the hearts of the SHEC community (the Rogationists, the staff, the benefactors, the mission partners and the beneficiaries). And certainly, such birth is concretely manifested through liberating and life-giving activities in the life of SHEC.

Housing budget launched. December 21 was a day of blessing for the homeless. George Espin, representing SHEC, attended the groundbreaking activity of Pasay LGU for the launching of the housing budget. Among those present were no less than the president himself, Noynoy Aquino, VP Jejomar Binay, Director Robredo, Rep. Emi Calixto, and Mayors Calixto and Lim. This event was held at Pasay City.

Mass for solidarity and Christmas Party. The Eucharist, so integral in the Rogate, is not only the summit of worship, but the strongest bond of unity or communion among believers. It was fitting and proper then that, last December 22, the SHEC community celebrated the Eucharist in solidarity with each other and with the typhoon victims in Mindanao. This was held at the St. Hannibal Eco-Retreat Center, Bulacan.

In the evening, the SHEC community celebrated their Christmas party. Truly, Jesus’ birth into their hearts, the inspiration behind their hearts of compassion for the poor and the oppressed, was a cause of authentic jubilation.

Monday, February 06, 2012

November 2011 Highlights

Rogate: Praying for Holy Apostles for the Church. St. Hannibal realized most deeply the need to beg the Lord to send laborers because the harvest is rich but the laborers are few. Also, St. Hannibal knew he had to pray not just for laborers. They ought to be holy laborers—pastors who ought to think, feel and act like Jesus; pastors who are sent after God’s own heart (Jer 3:15).
How is it to be sent as pastor in the Philippine Church? How is it to be a Rogationist? How is it to be a priest according to the heart of Jesus?
There could be 101 answers as God’s mystery remains inexhaustible. But there is a distinctive aspect which may be gleaned from the Bible: God’s heart, Jesus’ heart is a heart for the poor and oppressed.
Then the LORD said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings,  and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians… The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them.  So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” (Ex 3:8-10)
In the New Testament, Luke portrays Jesus as having the aforementioned heart of Yahweh. Jesus’ ‘inaugural address’ when he began his public ministry shows him as one who has been sent especially for the poor and oppressed:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Lk 4:18-19)
The aforementioned biblical texts constitute a solid foundation for the Church’s commitment to serve the marginalized. Accordingly, LG  #13 encourages a life of communion and sharing which succinctly expresses the spirit of preferential option and love for the poor. This is especially relevant in Asia where, as the Federation of Asian Bishop’s Conference recognizes, poverty and oppression constitute a major and exigent problem. This is a reason why in the 90’s, the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (or PCP II) committed the Philippine Church to be a Church of the Poor.
The Rogationist Family rejoiced with the whole Church last November 26, 2011 with the ordination to the priesthood of Rev. Arlene O. Gumangan, RCJ. He was promoted to the sacred order of priests by the Most Rev. Ernesto A. Salgado, DD, STD, Archbishop of Nueva Segovia, Ilocos Sur.

Fr. Arlene’s ordination is an answer to the Rogate Ergo. Fr. Arlene is also a gift to the Philippine Church as she strives to be a Church of the Poor. This is very obvious owing to the fact that Fr. Arlene lives among the poor of Pasay as he journeys with them in their struggle for social justice under the umbrella of the St. Hannibal Empowerment Center. Needless to say, Fr. Arlene’s priesthood is a response to the challenge of being a Church of the Poor: In a Church of the Poor, the shepherds, the priests in particular, are especially called to practice ‘pastoral charity.’ This is a way of life which, according to Blessed John Paul II, is “marked, molded and characterized by the way of thinking and acting proper to Jesus Christ, head and shepherd of the Church…(PDV  #21)” John Paul II continues to explain that the “essential content of pastoral charity is the gift of self, the total gift of self to the Church, following the example of Christ (PDV #23).”
Kudos, Fr. Arlene! May the Lord of the harvest send more laborers like you!