Cebu (Agenzia Fides) – We learn and understand what hope and mercy are from the poor: is what Redemptorist Karl Gaspar says, Headmaster at St. Alphonsus Theology and Mission Institute in Davao City, and committed with his community in a mission among the indigenous communities in Western Davao. In a testimony sent to Fides and pronounced during the recent International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu, Fr. Gaspar said: "Those Indigenous are the poorest among the poor, who live in the most suburb area in our country. Abandoned by state agencies, they have no infrastructures for education or for healthcare in their villages. According to the Department of Health there is a very high rate of malnutrition among children in that area. They live on subsistence agriculture. They face hunger. Their last two harvest seasons were virtually destroyed by an infestation of rats. Now they cannot plant because of El Nino and drought which could last until the middle of this year".
The priest continued: "For 50 years of my life, I have traveled across Mindanao meeting the terrifying face of war, displacement, massive poverty, inequality, environmental degradation, disasters of all kinds. In many areas people are tempted to completely lose hope in the face of a truly heartbreaking reality".
But these poor are teachers of hope: "They have total trust in God. For them God hears their cries and nourishes their resilience. They not only pray on their knees, but they get up, sing and dance. Due to the fact that they are not infected by the disease of cultural alienation because of their indigenous roots, they enrich the liturgy with creative gestures, so full of hope". These poor people are example of life he concludes. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 06/02/2015)