TEAM KCFAPI CARES : Reliving the Works of Fr. George J. Willmann

The Team KCFAPI Cares together with the Elderly of Sto. Niño de Tondo Parish                                                                                            during their Year of the Poor Activity held last August 20, 2015.The Team KCFAPI Cares together with the Elderly of Sto. Niño de Tondo Parish during their Year of the Poor Activity held last August 20, 2015.

They say that it is very dangerous when you go to Tondo, a connotation that has been around for years due to what is known for its history. For the month of August, the activity was intended for the care of the elderly.

The team chose the elders from Tondo because of two main reasons, first is to be connected and relive the works done by Fr. Willmann for the poor of Tondo. Second, unlike other elders housed in Homes for the Aged or under other agencies or associations for the care of the elderly, they are not well-funded and deprived of any special treatment and care.

When the team arrived at the parish, they started the activity first by attending the Holy Mass together with some of the elderly and their companions. Afterwards, before the start of the program, the team had an informal discussion with the elderly to get a better picture of their situation. Most of the elders were left by their children who are already living their own lives, while some are widows/widowers already.

Some of them have small rickety houses, some have improvised houses made from kariton while some only live beside the streets and only takes shelter inside the parish when there are strong rains and typhoons. Some of them have small livelihood such as sari-sari stores and some are even pedicab drivers despite their old age. They sometimes even take their daily ration of food from the parish as much as it can provide them. The team also met Rev. Fr. Estelito Villegas, the parish priest of Sto. Niño de Tondo. Fr. Villegas together with Bro. Roel Calpotura, the Social Services and Development Ministry head, explained the feeding program intended for the elderly within their vicinity. Aside from the food, the parish provides basic catechism and formation for the elderly so as to nourish not only their body but also their soul.

During the talk about the life of Fr. Willmann, the elderly were able to listen and participate well. They felt connected because they were able to relate themselves with the people that Fr. Willmann helped. Some of them might even be descendants of whom were helped by Fr. Willmann. Before the end of the program, Mr. Roberto Cruz, one of the members of team KCFAPI Cares and Executive Director of the KC Foundations, expressed his idea of the livelihood program that is currently being planned by the Foundation that will be hopefully approved by the end of the year.

He also told them of the scholarship programs that are given to those sons and daughters of underprivileged Knights of Columbus members. In connection to membership under the Order of the Knights of Columbus, Atty. Neil Jerome Rapatan, also one of the members of team KCFAPI Cares and Legal Manager of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines Inc., shared a short story on how being a member of the Order helped him and his family. He likewise encouraged the elderly and their sons to join the Order.

For the past five months, it has been a great and memorable journey for everyone in the team to partake in this challenge and respond to the call of mission for the Year of the Poor. Starting with our brothers from Makati Youth Home, orphan brothers and sisters from Associacion De Damas De Filipinas Inc., sick brothers and sisters from the pediatrics ward of the Philippine General Hospital, little brothers and sisters who dwell within the streets of Intramuros, and lastly, our fathers and mothers within the vicinity of Sto. Niño de Tondo Parish.

“Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but appeal to him as a father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters with complete purity.” – 1 Tim 5:1-2

(By Adrian Jimenez)

Father of Knights of Columbus in the Philippines


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