By Roy Lagarde

Caritas Philippines has inaugurated on Friday the country’s “social action academy” for development and humanitarian workers, reported CBCP News.

In a simple ceremony, Caritas Internationalis president Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle and Papal nuncio Archbishop Gabriele Caccia led the opening of the Center for Resiliency, Empowerment and Integral Development (CREED).

The event started with a Mass officiated by Caccia, along with Tagle, Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, Caritas Philippines’ new chairman, and his predecessor Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona.

In his homily, the cardinal expressed hope that the facility will be a fulfillment of the strategic goals set by Caritas.

“We are working towards professional training so that our service for the poor would really be of quality,” Tagle said.

“I hope this center will not only contribute to the Philippines and to Asia but to the growth of wisdom and professionalism to the Church,” he added.

Located at the bishops’ Basic Ecclesial Community Center compound in Tagaytay City, the facility aims to improve the overall organizational competence of diocesan social action centers.

Fr. Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of Caritas Philippines, said the center is the agency’s “gift” to the Philippine Catholic Church.

“CREED is not only a building, it is the whole capacity strengthening the program for the network dioceses,” Fr. Gariguez said.
Long before the four-story building was constructed, Caritas has already embarked on a 14-month transformational leadership program way back in 2017.

Currently, the center offers a graduate scholarship program in Masters in Social Services and Development (MSSD) in partnership with the Asian Social Institute.

Fr. Gariguez said the modular program was first attended by social action directors and lay pastoral workers all over the country.

“We intend to offer more courses to meet the needs of the diocesan workers, civil society and faith-based organizations in increasing our capacity in service and pastoral ministry,” he added.

Generally, he said that the center aims to provide technical expertise to improve competences of the dioceses in doing development-sector-based engagement, humanitarian response, climate adaptation and environment sustainability-driven development work and advocacy actions.

“We need to harness the required qualifications to render maximum possible service to the people we serve,” said Fr. Gariguez.

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