Church open to junkies, says Cardinal Tagle
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle yesterday said the Catholic Church welcomes former drug dependents who want to seek help in turning over a new leaf.
Tagle assured the faithful that the Archdiocese of Manila’s Sanlakbay sa Pagbabago ng Buhay program will help those who have fallen prey to drugs to leave their old ways through spiritual guidance, livelihood projects and skills formation.
The program will be supplemented by 12 modules to be given to participants.
“We welcome with all our hearts, and pray that you will be blessed by the Lord. Your Filipino brothers and sisters love you, let us not waste our lives. Instead, we should take care of it and enrich it,” he said.
The prelate made the announcement in an interview on the Church-run Radio Veritas.
Tagle said the drug users who turn themselves in will be introduced to the Lord through catechism, assisted in embarking on livelihood projects and taught new skills to hone their natural talents.
The program includes the Caritas Restorative Justice Ministry, Center for Family Ministries, University of Sto. Tomas Graduate School Psychotrauma, Department of Health, Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Philippine National Police.
The Archdiocese of Manila’s Restorative Justice Ministry began this week its community-based rehabilitation program at the San Roque de Manila Parish as part of its response to the government’s intense campaign against illegal drugs.
Tagle expressed confidence that the partnership between the Church and government agencies through the program will help drug users reform their ways.
“You were entrusted to the Church by our local government units. The Archdiocese of Manila welcomes you, and we hope that we can achieve our goal of changing our lives,” he told the drug users and peddlers who surrendered to police authorities.
Fr. Roberto de la Cruz, who is in charge of the Restorative Justice Ministry, said the Church is with the drug dependents in their journey to a new life.
“The Church is here for them, they are not alone. The government, the police and barangay are here for them,” De la Cruz said.
Fr. Tony Navarrete, parish priest of the San Roque de Manila Parish, said the Sanlakbay program is a good start in helping drug users and pushers change their ways.
At the San Roque de Manila Parish, only 20 drug users who voluntarily surrendered are undergoing the program although the parish is expecting the number to hit 160.
“In the past, we failed to address the issue, we failed to be a companion to these people. So now we are trying what we can do, given the urgency of the need,” he said in a radio interview. TVJ
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.