MANILA – Nineteen bishops from different dioceses nationwide enrolled at the Caritas Philippines Academy for a five-day course on servant leadership and pastoral management.
Jing Rey Henderson, Caritas Philippines head of communications and partnership development, said the goal of the program is to equip the prelates with additional knowledge and training and foster unity among dioceses in meeting the needs of the faithful.
"What is being said is that the church must be synodal, so first we must improve. What we call the academy is professionalism with a heart...we realized that before in the church you just volunteer and you're fine, but what kind of service should we provide to the people," she said in an interview over Church-run Radyo Veritas on Tuesday.
The course for bishops will be conducted once a year, while several courses are also offered for other church workers and volunteers.
"If we say that we are the 'church of the poor', the poor that we serve must receive the best, best service from the church and that is what we are doing now. We will raise the level, the level, the quality of service provided by our social action workers, social action centers as a whole," Henderson said.
The program will run until Friday at the Caritas Development Center in Tagaytay City.
Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, pro-Prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization, and Caloocan Bishop and Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines president Pablo Virgilio David will also serve as instructors.
According to Caritas Philippines president, Kidapawan Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, the bishops' course focuses on the way Pope Francis governs – with faith, mercy and concern.
Some of the bishops who underwent the course were Archbishop Guilbert Garcera of Lipa, Batangas; Bishops Jerry Alminaza, San Carlos Negros Occidental; Rey Evangelista of Imus, Cavite; Valentin Dimoc of Bontoc, Lagawe; Cosme Almedilla of Butuan City; Bishop Marvin Maceda of San Jose de Buenavista, Antique; Bishop Allan Dialogo of Sorsogon; Bishop Joel Baylon of Legazpi City, Albay; and Bishop Bartolome Santos of Iba, Zambales.
The Caritas Philippines Academy serves as the learning and training institute of the Catholic Church in the country.
Formerly known as the Center for Resiliency, Empowerment and Integral Development, the academy was inaugurated in 2019 mainly to instill professional competence within the Social Action Network and other partners of Caritas Philippines. (PNA)