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.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

July 2012 Highlights

Rogate: The Way of God’s Heart. In trying moments, especially when the poor and the oppressed appear even more nailed to poverty and oppression, like in situations when their misfortunes seem to endlessly pile up, we can learn from Job: the way of God’s heart is mysterious. At times it is apparently ironic…so paradoxical that it even appears unjust…But one thing is certain: God’s heart suffers with us, as evidenced by his only son hanging on the cross. And God suffers most when we suffer. And he chooses to suffer out of his unfathomed love for us, especially for the poor and the oppressed. 
A heart which willingly and happily suffers so others may concretely live in love -- this we can also learn from St. Hannibal and St. Camillus. St. Hannibal was a devotee of St. Camillus. He was in fact very instrumental for the stay of St. Camillus’ relic, his heart in particular, at Messina. This July in which we celebrate the feast of St. Camillus, we remember and emulate the commonality of St. Camillus’ and St. Hannibal’s hearts: they are hearts “according to God’s heart” (see Jer 3:15), that is, they are hearts full of compassion especially for the poorest of the poor. Theirs were hearts patterned after God’s heart: a heart which generously exudes love which, according to Benedict XVI, is “the service that the Church carries out in order to attend constantly to man’s sufferings and his needs, including material needs” (Deus Caritas Est #19).

Rogate Family Bonding. Being with the poor in quality moments, letting them feel they are warmly embraced, sharing their burden through unrehearsed friendly gestures, are ways of the heart that boost their dignity and morale. With their self-esteem restored and sustained, the poor are in a better shape to be empowered and be inspired to go on despite overwhelming trials and difficulties. Aside from praying with one another, knowing each other and showing the wonders of living the Rogate, the aforementioned are the values fostered by the gathering of around 71 leaders and members of SHaCC at St. Anthony’s Boys’ Village last July 1, 2012. Truly, the way of the heart succeeds in relationships that build families—a perfect way to complement the rather impersonal sharing of material goods.

Tested by Fire! This line appears in the letter of Peter to figuratively illustrate the trials one has to face along the way to holiness. But at times, the symbolic comes in real terms. Last July 11, 2012, (more than 300) families at Brgy. 156 were literally tested by fire as their houses were set on fire and turned into ashes. Pertinent to the incident, the leaders of Brgy. 156, the fire victims and SHEC staff held a meeting the following day, July 12, 2012. They also met with Mayor Calixto at the Pasay City Hall last July 13, 2012 to seek assistance for their plight. Despite its negativities, the event manifested once more that God’s heart cannot be outdone in generosity, for in one way or the other, generous people, touched by God, shared time and treasure to help the victims. God’s ways are mysterious, indeed, but his heart has one certain and clear mission—it ardently longs and works for total salvation which will be absolutely realized when his Kingdom definitively comes. For now, we just have to do our part to share in God’s mission in the best way we can. Helping the unfortunate, like the fire victims, is a concrete way to do so. 

Housing Board Meeting. To discuss pertinent matters involving housing programs for the poor, SHEC staff attended the Pasay City Housing Board Meeting at the Pasay City Hall last July 26, 2012. With problems on housing aggravated by accidents like fire, people who work for and with the poor have to double their effort. But with God on their side, as well as people whose hearts beat according to God’s heart, the Kingdom will certainly progress despite difficult obstacles.