113 parishes join Cebu Caritas, as Alay Kapwa sets P8M goal

113 parishes join Cebu Caritas, as Alay Kapwa sets P8M goal

DUE to lack of funding, only 113 of 174 parishes are able to join Cebu Caritas Inc., the Archdiocese of Cebu’s social action arm, a year after Archbishop Jose Palma released a decree requiring all parishes to join.

“Dili tanan parokya established na. Naa may mga parokya nga gideklarar siya nga parokya, pero wala pay simbahan. Wala pa gani kombento,” Rev. Fr. Alex K. Cola, Jr., Cebu Caritas president, said Thursday, March 30, 2023.

(Not all parishes have been established. There are parishes that have been declared a parish, but there is no church yet, not even a convent.)

The development comes as Cebu Caritas also announced the relaunch of “Alay Kapwa,” its legacy local fund raising program, with the goal of raising P8 million this year to support its social action initiatives.


On March 3, 2022, the Decree on the Establishment of Parish Caritas in all Parishes in the Archdiocese of Cebu was released and stated that every parish shall establish its own Parish Caritas.

The decree also cemented the role of Parish Caritas, which is to perform its tripod programs on humanitarian, developmental and justice and peace.

So far, only 65 percent of the parishes under the Archdiocese of Cebu have their Parish Caritas. District 1 has 25; district 2 has 15; district 3 has 14; district 4 has 14; district 5 has 13; district 6 has 13; and district 7 has 19.

Fr. Cola revealed that some parishes are still looking for funds to procure their own land on which to build their Parish Caritas office.

However, Cebu Caritas said it is working closely with non-Parish Caritas parishes so they can at least reach 80 percent of total parishes as soon as possible.

“Daghan nila nipadayag na, during our recollection, makadungog gyud ka unsa ka excited ang mga pari ba,” said Fr. Cola, adding that 65 percent from the overall number of parishes with Parish Caritas in the archdiocese is already an achievement in its first year. (During our recollection, many priests expressed their excitement over the project.)

Lenten activity

On Thursday, Cebu Caritas also relaunched “Alay Kapwa.”

Alay Kapwa is implemented nationwide in all parishes of the Roman Catholic Church during the Lenten season. It was established by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) during Lent in 1975.

“To respond to the call of Pope Paul VI nga nindot kaayo ni ang simbahan ba nga nagpakabana, simbahan nga dili lang kutob nga ra ang mga kaparian kutob sa parokya (that it is very nice to have a church that cares, a church with priests that not only stay in their parish but immerse with the masses),” said Fr. Cola.

To fund its projects, Cebu Caritas will dedicate a second collection during the masses in the parishes on the Sundays of Lent.

April 2, Palm Sunday, is also Alay Kapwa Sunday. A portion of the collection during masses on this day will be set aside for Alay Kapwa.

As mandated by the CBCP, 20 percent of the collection will be used as a standby fund for calamity or humanitarian response, 48 percent for diocesan social action center development and advocacy programs, and 32 percent to Caritas Philippines as solidarity fund to assist dioceses and communities in need.

The target collection of Cebu Caritas for the whole Lenten season is P8 million, which is at par with the projected budget for its projects this year of P8 million to P10 million.

Linking for service

Aside from monetary donations from churchgoers, Cebu Caritas also accepts the delivery of services to the public, and toward this end, it has built linkages with the government and the nongovernment sector.

“For example, our rehabilitation project, we have coordinated with the LGUs (local government units),” said Rev. Fr. Alden John Baran, program director of Cebu Caritas.

He said that in conducting rehabilitation projects in Boljoon and Argao, the respective municipalities also offered them help.

They have also tapped several educational institutions, such as Cebu Institute of Medicine, Cebu Doctors’ University, and Cebu Technological University, to send medical volunteers as part of their humanitarian and developmental programs.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines of Cebu and Cebu City chapters also partnered with them to provide legal aid for the justice and peace programs of Cebu Caritas.

Fr. Baran said Cebu Caritas has helped 499,830 individuals affected by Typhoon Odette (Rai), which hit Cebu in December 2021.

He also said that after Holy Week, they will conduct another set of medical, dental and legal missions in Barangay Guanoy in Balamban in western Cebu. They will also bring this to San Remigio in the north on April 29.

Holy Week is from April 2-8.

Cebu Caritas has already catered to 2,904 individuals since the resumption of its programs in several towns in Cebu since Covid-19 pandemic restrictions were relaxed.

“Padayon kita sa atong pagpuasa, pagpenetensya ug pagdebosyon. Apil usab niini ang pagtabang sa uban, labi na sa nanginahanglan,” said Archbishop Jose Palma in a recorded statement for the Catholic faithful this Holy Week.

(Let’s continue our fasting, penance, and devotion. This also includes helping others, especially those in need).

Holy Week, the final week of Lent, commemorates Jesus Christ’s Passion (suffering and death), beginning with Palm Sunday, which marks His entrance into Jerusalem, His arrest on Holy Thursday, crucifixion and death on Good Friday, and his lying in the tomb on Holy Saturday.


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