Reach out to the poor, says bishop in Lenten message

Reach out to the poor, says bishop in Lenten message
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On Ash Wednesday, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan leads the blessing and inauguration of a relocation site for at least 40 urban poor families in Malabon City. ROY LAGARDE

MANILA— The season of lent provides opportunity for Catholics to focus attention on the poor and the needy, a Catholic bishop said.

Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan said the Church cannot ignore suffering and urged the people to do “concrete actions of charity”.

He said that it’s clear in the Gospel that fasting and penance goes beyond giving something up during Lent.

“Our faith must be matched with concrete expressions of charity and love for others,” said David, who is also the Vice President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

On Ash Wednesday, the prelate has chosen to spend the day with the underprivileged and often overlooked population in Metro Manila: the informal settlers.

It was a solemn celebration where he put ashes on foreheads of churchgoers at a new relocation site for urban poor families in Malabon City’s Santulan village.

After the Mass, the bishop led the blessing and inauguration of the site, which came from anonymous donors, on which about 40 families will build their new homes.

According to the David, a huge number of parishioners under the diocese, which covers the cities of Caloocan, Navotas and Malabon, are informal settlers.

“It’s worrying that until now many people can’t afford a decent house,” he said. “Why? Because of poverty!”

Bishop David said the informal settlers are among the country’s most vulnerable people and helping them is one way for Christian believers to live out their faith.

“It’s right that we should help each other,” he said, adding that the diocese’s urban poor ministry will continue to assist the beneficiaries of the small-scale resettlement project. CBCPNews