Activist-actress turned Church social worker shares story

Activist-actress turned Church social worker shares story
Hundreds of collaborators and social action workers attended the launching of the 24 Change Projects of the fellows of the Lead to Heal Program at the Astoria Plaza, Ortigas, Pasig City, Sept. 23, 2017. KRITZIA SANTOS

PASIG City – Her striking stage presence belied her training in theater, but it was her candid sharing on how her heart for the poor was shaped by the Church that made her “Change Project” one of the most inspiring fruits of the CBCP National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines’ Lead to Heal leadership program.

“From activist, I became an actress … and now, this is me – sosyalista. Active participation among the members of the church became the foundation of my service,” shared Analyn Julian, who has been part of the Archdiocese of Cotabato’s social action program for 17 years now.

According to her, since becoming a Bible quiz bee champion in Makati, she “always wanted to be in the church.”

‘Face of God’

“In my childhood, I believed that the Church is the face of God,” said Julian.

Her initial admiration gave way to doubt when she become more aware of the suffering of the poor and marginalized.

“But the time came that I asked myself… I saw a lot of suffering. Is this all that the Church can do? To pray, to do catechism? At my young age, I saw that there was something lacking in what the Church can do. Is this the Church I want to be part of?,” shared Julian.

Once her active participation in the church grew lukewarm, she would join other movements to uphold the rights of the poor.

“I became an activist. I joined the revolutionaries of the street. I really backslid. But God has ways to call us back,” said Julian, who around the same time went into theater.

It was not long before her parish priest found out about her experience in theater and tapped her to help lead the parish youth ministry.

Julian would eventually train the parish youth to stage plays and concerts that would become avenues to fundraise for the church’s social action programs.

Turning point

During her time in youth ministry, she became a scholar of the Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC) through the Handog Pag-Ibig initiative, which were basically voluntary contributions from parishioners to help fund the church’s social action programs. For Julian, experiencing the Church’s concrete compassion became her turning point. “I chose again to be part again of the Church…This was my transformation.”

CBCP-NASSA/Caritas Philippines in partnership with Development Academy of the Philippines, and Future By Design Pilipinas launched the 14-month Lead to Heal transformational leadership program with 24 fellows who were trained to kickstart 24 “Change Projects” that would help improve how the Church does social action work.

These “Change Projects” or transformational stories of humanitarian development from across the country were presented across 4 conversation platforms on Sept. 23 at the Astoria Plaza, Ortigas. CBCPNews