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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

NO ONE IN NEED
(Part 15)

SERVING THE POOREST OF THE POOR

June 15, 2014


LCSC is our lay response to the call to the New Evangelization. Through LCSC we will do rapid and massive evangelization, focusing on the lapsed or non-practicing Catholics (though not exclusively). LCSC has 4 pillars, all of critical importance. They are Live Pure (youth chastity), Live the Word (focus on Bible appreciation), Live Life (pro-life advocacy) and Live Full (our work of building the Church of the Poor through the No One In Need movement).

Part of our work with the poor is our Prison Ministry. A significant aspect of our Prison Ministry is our work at the Maximum Security Compound of the National Bilibid Penitentiary (Max-NBP) in Metro Manila. This is where the so-called dregs of society are incarcerated, possibly for life. These prisoners are actually the poorest of the poor, poorer even than those without houses. They have been forgotten or abandoned by their families, they live in wretched conditions with very limited freedom of movement, they can be said to have no future to speak of. Life in prison at the Max-NBP is wretched and not comparable at all to prison facilities in the West as you see in the movies.

We have been at work at Max-NBP for a number of years. Now we have introduced LCSC, and we intend to go massive. We do have a captive audience, but the work is very challenging, demanding much of those among our brethren who serve there. We currently have an active membership of 500 prisoners, but there are over 10,000 inmates in the Max-NBP. We hope to be able to reach all the Catholics, even given very severe limitations, such as restricted access and occasional gang wars. We also hope to do more work in the Medium Security facility, where we now have 30 members. One big limitation is money.

While there are rich and famous (infamous) inmates, the great majority, including all of our members, are poor. As we provide spiritual food through the gospel, we also need to look to providing physical or material assistance. As it is now, our budget is just a measly 100 (Philippine) pesos per person a month, supplemented now and then by donations in kind. We spend this for food, medicine, and other services (like mailing). LCSC currently is providing 50,000 pesos a month, with additional amounts given by other CFC-FFL brethren. If we have 10,000 members, that would need 1M a month.

Being the poorest of the poor, our work at Max-NBP is at the heart of our participation in building of the Church of the Poor. It is what LCSC is all about. But here is encouraging news: if we all did our little share, we will have enough. All it takes is 100 pesos a month, or US$2.30 (round that off to US$2.50), per person. That is just US$30 per year.

Can you sponsor one prisoner at US$2.50 per month? Those who can sponsor more than one prisoner are of course welcome to give more. Can we get enough sponsors to support 10,000 prisoners? Is that too much to expect? For the majority of our brethren who are not directly involved in our work with the poor, this is one small opportunity to be involved, and to be reminded of the poor whom we are supposed to have a preferential option for.

So with this I have launched Gideon 10,000 (G10K). Because there were those in Gideon's army who were afraid, "twenty-two thousand of the soldiers left, but ten thousand remained." (Jgs 7:3b). However, they were sent home, to participate in the rout of Midian later. G10K will be those of our brethren who from their homes support this fight.

You will be glad to hear that spiritual renewal is very much happening among the prisoners. Their worship is even more vibrant than some of our chapters. They have their own Music Ministry. They regularly do the Liturgical Bible Study. Leaders have emerged from among them. Some of them even tithe, albeit in very small amounts.

Be informed also that we have had an LCS for 111 new jail guards for the New Bilibid Prison last February. In this work, jailers and jailed are brethren. Members of various gangs war not on each other but on the evil one. Rich (you who fund this work) and poor come together.

Our theme for this year, Empowered to Witness, is from 2 Timothy 1:7-8. This prison ministry work is a big part of our "testimony to our Lord" (v.8a), and with it, we are not ashamed of our brother-prisoners nor of Paul, "a prisoner for his sake" (v.8b). Paul also tells us, "bear your share of hardship for the gospel." The prisoner endures the most hardship. Our Prison Ministry team bears a lot of hardship. Now you, the giver, can put in your little bit as well.

I am kicking this off with my personal financial support for 50 prisoners. Can I count on you too? Please (1) let me know directly by email (fapcfc@gmail.com), (2) tell me what district, province and country you are from, (3) indicate how many prisoners you are supporting (one or more), and (4) remit your contribution (it can be consolidated by your national network) to:

Bank: Allied Bank, EDSA Extension Branch, EDSA Extension Corner
Loring St., Pasay City
Account Name: LCSC
Account Number: 001631 - 00973 - 7
Swift Code: PNBMPHMM

I request that this be a continuing commitment on your part, until such time that you inform me you will no longer participate in this particular work. It is a work critical to the New Evangelization. It is at the very heart of our Lord, who said he was sent “to proclaim liberty to captives” (Lk 4:18c). It is your way to heaven, as you, through our Prison Ministry team, can hear Jesus say, “I was in prison and you visited me” (Mt 25:36c).

I am confident the Lord will bless us all as we do more for His mission of bringing glad tidings to the poor. This is what the New Evangelization and the work of this third millennium are about.

Thank you very much.

frank

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