Helping People in Greatest Need

Manila Bulletin, April 9, 2006 | Go to article overview

Helping People in Greatest Need


Byline: EDITH P. LAGARILE

The observance of Palm Sunday ushers in a special week to ponder and meditate on the passion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Son of God who gave Himself up to save humanity and give them eternal love and happiness. In Matthew 25:40, Christ said: "Whatever you have done to the least of My brothers and sisters, you have done it to Me."

For many years, a benevolent organization has constantly heeded this teaching of the Messiah, devoting their utmost care and concern for the uplift and promotion of the welfare and interests of the underprivileged and most unfortunate members of our society.

They reach out and extend assistance not just to the handicapped and abandoned children with multiple disabilities, but also to other most needy, most forgotten, and in deepest misery, like the mentally ill, the sick elderly, the terminally ill, and even the homeless street families.

Called Handicapped Development Inc., this non-stock, non-profit Catholic organization is the incorporated arm of the Episcopal Commission on Health Care of the Catholic Bishopsa Conference of the Philippines. It works towards a world where all people will be loved and who, on their turn, will love and help others as Jesus Christ did.

"Our mission is to help especially those people who are in greatest need, have the least in life and are deprived of the most basic services," said Fr. Luke Moortgat, CICM, fondly known as "Father Luke," its Founding Member and Executive Director, former Chaplain and professor of Statistics and Computer Programming at the De La Salle University in Manila.

"We try to provide people who have the least services and who suffer severely with lack of pastoral, medical and other basic needs with social, psychological, medical, nutritional and spiritual assistance through various activities," he maintained.

As such, all throughout the year, they organize symposium and Catholic congresses to increase public awareness and understanding as well as to plan activities for the people afflicted with different ailments and illnesses, the mentally retarded, the physically handicapped, the blind, the deaf, the mentally ill, the elderly, those with progressive diseases like Parkinsonas disease and multiple sclerosis, as well as the terminally ill.

They also print and mail various simple but free newsletters which focus on the various underprivileged groups like "Peace" for the mentally ill, "Handy" for the physically handicapped, "Special News" for Special Education Assistance, "In Touch" for the Blind and "Special Friends" for mentally-retarded children.

They send the yearly message of the Chairperson of the commission, His Excellency Bishop symposiums Alo, D.D., Bishop of Mati to all parishes, Catholic schools and hospitals. They also disseminate the yearly letter of the Pope at the occasion of the "World Day of the Sick" to the same groups all over the Philippines.

He added that they also offer virtually free graduate level special education courses for teachers in various universities of the country to help them educate the disabled and special children with special needs. To date, more than 1,000 teachers have participated in this program, a considerable number who will provide these unfortunates with greatly improved education. …

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