Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 28, 2007
Shards of hope shine amidst dank poverty
Film documents how Gawad Kalinga of Couples for Christ helps Filipino poor
By CELIA PAZ de CASTRO
He (Rudy Abad) had a GK community built and named in honour of his wife Marie Rose.
The movie showcased the stories of three real people whose lives have been directly touched by the work of Gawad Kalinga.
The first was the story of a woman, named Jocelyn, whose family was a victim of landslides in Leyte in southern Philippines. Gawad Kalinga helped her overcome her desperate situation and became instrumental in her regaining her sanity and faith in God.
The second was the story of a boy named Elvis who, with no food to satisfy his hunger, ate pebbles instead. A family who belonged to Couples for Christ later adopted him and gave Elvis a chance for a better life.
The third was the story of Rudy Abad, whose wife Marie Rose died in the twin tower 9/11 tragedy. Depressed and helpless, he tried to make sense of his tragic loss. Eventually, in God's mysterious ways, he found GK to be the answer to his search for meaning. He had a GK community built and named in honour of his wife Marie Rose, who in life wanted so much to help the poor.
The featured stories (except the boy Elvis story) were sad stories that touched people and made them cry. However, it is comforting to know that there are many good people out there who truly care for the poor whom Jesus loves.
This is what GK is all about - giving hope and dignity for the poor and transforming their lives.
Gawad Kalinga is defined by the three levels of transformation that take place in the lives of those it touches.
Level 1: It restores dignity and hope (the material and spiritual assistance of GK engender hope).
Level 2: Transformation (through GK, the change from slum dwelling into clean beautiful homes with hygienic surroundings provides an incentive to become law-abiding citizens with sound ethical values, respectful and grateful for their blessings).
Level 3: Community development (providing shelter is the first phase of development. However, education, livelihood, health and value formation are just as important to bring about integrated, holistic and sustainable community development.)
The dramatic changes that take place in the lives of the poor are amazing.
Gawad Kalinga is one of the pillars of Couples for Christ, a lay movement that originated in the Philippines. It is now an ecclesial movement approved by the Vatican's Pontifical Council of the Laity.
It adheres to Jesus' preferential option for the poor, giving hope and dignity for the destitute who for so long have been marginalized and forgotten by society.
There is no doubt that there are still obstacles that lie ahead and many challenges to overcome in achieving all its goals and missions. But as in Jesus' time, miracles big and small, are happening, transforming the landscapes of the poor into bright, colourful days - unimaginable without the work of Gawad Kalinga. Praise the Lord.
Another showing of the movie is scheduled at the Empire Theatre at Westmount Centre, Edmonton on June 30 at 10 a.m. For more information, contact the Couples for Christ office at (780) 447-0900.
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.