The Community Chest Foundation Inc. (ComChest) lives by its doctrine of caring and sharing—caring for the needy and sharing responsibilities. In celebration of its 66 years of spreading social responsibility, the organization urged leaders of different sectors to come together and assess how to better serve their respective constituencies.
The foundation held an interfaith breakfast forum on August 28 at the Diamond Hotel in Manila with the theme: “The Social Responsibility of the Church.” Bishop Teodoro Cruz Bacani Jr. was the guest speaker.
Most of the attendees were from organizations under the Red Feather agency group, ComChest’s social welfare partner agencies with 18 organizations, including Asocacion de Damas de Filipinas Inc., Young Men’s Christian Association of Manila and Goodwill Industries of the Philippines Inc., to name a few.
Bacani is currently the bishop emeritus of Novaliches. He studied at Instituto de Mujeres, which later became Roseville College in Manila. He realized at a young age how priesthood beckons. As he grew up, the call to serve God became stronger. Eventually, he decided to become a priest. He has answered God’s call.
Bacani has been a diocese and catechetical director in Zambales, a professor of theology at San Carlos Seminary and University of Santo Tomas, and former auxiliary bishop of Manila.
“When you become a priest, you will take care of many souls,” that’s how Bacani started his talk. He recalled that when he was assigned to do priestly work in San Antonio, Zambales, he saw children who wanted to go to school but could not because they are poor. That prompted him to start his mission of taking care of souls. However, never in his life did he imagine that, as a priest, he would be going to the wet market to buy piglets for the families of these children. But he did.
He distributed the piglets so that the families can raise them to be able to earn money for their children’s tuition. He was surprised that his plan to help the poor children became so successful that the families even gave back his capital and added 10 percent more without being asked.
After that, the simple plan became a social program. And the beneficiary families responded by multiplying and spreading his kindness to them by also helping out others. The rest was history. That was the starting point of his calling to spread social responsibility and development with the help of the church. Being a priest and doing services for the glory of God for almost 50 years now, it is safe to say that Bacani has touched and changed so many lives. No wonder his social development and civic action continues to snowball.
Dr. Cindy Ang, executive director of ComChest, also shared a few things with regards to Bacani, as they are childhood friends. She recalled that in grade school they would always spend their free time after school playing games like patintero, luksong tinik, tumbang preso, piko and luksong lubid with some of their friends.
Today, every time she sees the bishop on television or hear him on the radio, she would always tell friends: “Kababata ko ’yan.” She is very proud of him.
Bacani’s passion to create positive change and his willingness to work hard have paid great dividends. People have responded to his kindness by multiplying and sharing their blessings with other people, especially the needy.