Story & photo by Stephanie Tumampos
The very core of a community is the family. With love and respect, it is inside a family that an individual grows up and learns the values in life and carry it through the rest of one’s life. Everything starts in this small unit.
Fr. Atilano “Nonoy” Fajardo, CN, recently shared his insights in Saint Paul’s College Pasig (SPCP) on why the family holds the key toward social progress and morality in the country.
“Planting not just honesty but also integrity has to start from the father to the mother to the children, it has to start in the family,” Father Fajardo told the BusinessMirror in an interview.
The college holds has been holding its “Drop Everything Pray, Thank, Share” (DEPTHS) every second Wednesday of the month and tackles the social issues in the country as part of its basic ecclesiastical community (BEC). This month of February, the school has the theme “Promoting the culture of life to counter the culture of death in the society”. Father Fajardo was the resource speaker.
“We want our students and faculty to reflect as a community on social issues,” said Sis.Dedicacion Rosario, SPC, directress of SPCP told the BusinessMirror at the sidelines of the forum. “We cannot live our faith apart from what is happening,” she added, citing the rampant killings in the country after the government has issued an all-out war against drugs.
“We believe in human dignity,” she said.
‘Do not steal’
FATHER Fajardo is part of the public-affairs ministry of the Archdiocese of Manila. He is the pioneer in promoting the Seventh Commandment of God, “Thou shall not steal”, by printing the Filipino translation of it on shirts that he has been wearing in public.
“When you wear the ‘Huwag Kang Magnakaw [Do not steal]’ shirt, you accept the fact that you are a sinner and that’s when honesty comes in,” he told the faculty and student leaders of SPCP.
Father Fajardo told his audience to accept each other as sinners, as thieves. This way, one would become humble and become aware of what is happening around.
The school’s main aim is to instill justice and peace into its faculty and students. “We value life,” Sister Rosario said.
Father Fajardo, Sister Rosario and Sis. Theresa Asencio, SPC, head of the school’s Christian Formation, later led the march out of the school grounds and put up a big sign written with the words “Huwag Kang Papatay: Huwag Kang Magnakaw ng Buhay [Do Not Kill: Do Not Steal Life].”
“We want to make a stand,” Sister Asencio told the BusinessMirror. “We are one with the church [in the stand against killing and death penalty],” she added.
Both Father Fajardo and the school wanted a values-based cultural evangelization. “We have to print this in the hearts of the Filipino, we have to print the word of God in our hearts and it goes back to the family,” Father Fajardo said.
“I want to create a critical public mass. Through what Saint Paul’s College Pasig has done, I foresee the academic institutions would follow and eventually [have a groundswell] at the national level,” Father Fajardo said, referring to the solidarity march at SPCP and the putting up of a sign against killing in front of the school for the public to see. “We have to create that change.”
Filipinos will be proud in 2021
Doing the right thing even when no one is looking at you is honesty, Father Fajardo said. He added that, from the family, the disease of stealing spreads to public service.
In discussing the Seventh Commandment, Father Fajardo said talked about the public servants and leaders in the government who were involved in corruption.
“What was stolen was the dignity of each and every Filipino,” he said. “It is not just the taxes [which were stolen],” he said. If public officials steal from people’s taxes, the budget for social services will decrease, he added.
The Filipinos will suffer as a consequence and because of this, “there is no money in the country and, therefore, many of our brothers and sisters leave the country because they are not paid of what is rightfully due for them.”
Father Fajardo sees that in 2021 the Filipino people would feel proud of themselves. “[The year] 2021 is the 500th year of Catholicism and I am sure the Filipinos will be proud of themselves,” he said.
He added that, by that year, the people would not only be reclaiming the Catholic faith but also the power of the Church, and the power to bring back what is to be a Filipino.
Image credits: Stephanie Tumampos