Resource Center for social concerns (RCSC)
- Inspired by the spirit of Vincent and Louise and in pursuit of “doing theology from and to the margins”, the Resource Center for Social Concern (RCSC) under the office the Academic Dean envisions:
1. To evolve a Center which would serve as theological –pastoral resource for grassroots communities, social movements and other similarly engaged agents through its twin strategies of research/documentation on relevant social issues and direct engagement in pastoral praxis.
2. To coordinate all the research efforts of different groups affiliated to SVST
3. To continually search for research grants from funding institutions
4. To facilitate a process of continuing of interchange between SVST and the various change agents working in the margins of the church and society thereby giving flesh and blood to SVST’s thrust: Theology from and to the Margins
1. Research/ Documentation
The Resource Center for Social Concern is currently engaged in two research projects under the auspices of the Carlos Abesamis Professorial Lecture (CAPL) which is an integral part of the center. The CAPL seeks:
- To encourage interdisciplinary theological research that would be made at the service of and in collaboration with the social movements through a series of lectures.
- To recognize the important contribution and vision of Fr. Carlos Abesamis in making Christian faith and tradition critically engage our social realities.
Since October 2013, four social fora and three Carlos Abesamis Lectures (CAL) were planned and implemented. On May 16, 2015, the last CAL for the current school year (2014-2015) will be held as planned.
The themes selected for the social fora and CALs in each of the two academic years covered by this report (2013-2014; 2014-2015) corresponded to the socio-pastoral imperatives of Nostra Aetate and Gaudium et Spes, respectively. Moreover, the themes for the previous school year (2012-2013) were informed by the challenges of Sacrosanctum Concilium as three academic years (2012-2015) have been devoted by St. Vincent School of Theology (SVST) to an extended commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Vatican II.
Spelled out below are the themes which, taken together, constitute a modest attempt on the part of the Resource Center for Social Concern (RCSC) to bring the documents of the Council to bear on the actual life situation of the poor and marginalized whom the RCSC seeks to minister to:
a. Reforming the Reform – Sacrosanctum Concilium (School Year 2012-2013)
i. Debo(mi)syon: Celebrating the Spirit in Baclaran
Fr. Victorino (Ino) Cueto, CSsR (September 29, 2012)
ii. The Songs And Thoughts of Gary Granada
Prof. Lorenzo Bautista (November 17, 2012)
iii. Sunday Mass and the Price of Eggs at Kamuning Market: Bridging the Gap Between Liturgy and Life
Fr. Tomas S. Maddela (February 16, 2013)
iv. Lumadnong Kasaulogan (Indigenous Celebration): Bridging the Domains of a Creative Deity and our Imaginative Ancestry
Bro. Karl Gaspar, CSsR (May 11, 2013)
b. Bridging the Church – Nostra Aetate (School Year 2013-2014)
i. Christian-Muslim Dialogue: Restrospect and Prospect
Fr. Eliseo “Jun” Mercado, OMI (August 3, 2013)
ii. The World’s Wisdom Traditions as Inspiration to Transformation and Service
Mr. Jose Victor Penaranda (October 19, 2013)
iii. Christians Learning from Asian Spiritualities
Sr. Amelia Vasquez, RSCJ (February 1, 2014)
iv. Reclaiming our Indigenous Woman-Affirming Heritage: Challenge to our Christian Faith
Ms. Agnes N. Miclat-Cacayan (March 15, 2014)
c. Serving the World: Gaudium et Spes (School Year 2014-2015)
i. Church Renewal in the Light of Gaudium et Spes
Fr. Rolando Tuazon, C.M. (August 16, 2014)
ii. Geographies of BECs: Bases of Hopes, Joys, Griefs and Anxieties of the People of our Time
Dr. Ferdinand Dagmang, PhD (October 18, 2014)
iii. Confronting a Culture of Impunity: Human Rights Advocacy as a Pastoral Imperative
Sr. Cres Lucero, SFIC (February 21, 2015)
iv. Year of the Poor and Gaudium et Spes: Responding to Poverty through BECs in the Archdiocese of Jaro – still to be held
Dr. Estella Padilla, PhD (May 16, 2015)
d. The social fora and the CALs are open to the public and participated in not only by teachers and students but by pastoral agents and social activists as well. During the period covered by this report, the turn-out of participants has been satisfactory.
e. Five lectures delivered under the auspices of the RCSC during the Center’s first year of operation and which revolve around faith and social engagement will be published this year as a special issue of the school’s academic journal (Christian Faith and Social Praxis)
f. The implementation of the RCSC-supervised project (“Catholic Social Teaching for the Grassroots” [CSTG]) has been extended. The last evaluation of the project showed that the last phase of project implementation was supposed to have been finished in November of 2015 and not May 2014. Since the written modules are still going through their final editing and three film clips have yet to be fine-tuned, the completion of CSTG has been projected towards the end of June 2015.
3. Socio-Pastoral Engagement
The center helps facilitate education, training and formation programs for BEC leaders and organizers, church-based social development programs and other entities concerned with social responsibility and non-partisan political action. To date, the center has been assisting the BECs in the Diocese of Novaliches and as a distinct contribution to socio-pastoral work it is laying all the necessary groundwork for popularizing the Catholic Social Teaching through various forms of educational and training materials.
The RCSC continues to work closely with SVST and this is being concretized in three areas: (1) Facilitating and coordinating the immersion of SVST students in the BECs; (2) Assisting parishes with BECs to which the students are fielded for immersion in their pastoral formation and skills training programs; (3) Conducting BEC-related courses in the school’s non-degree program for lay people.
Apart from the Diocese of Novaliches (in which SVST is located), the RCSC has been approached by the neighboring dioceses of Cubao and Caloocan for possible assistance in the on-going pastoral formation of their BEC and parish leaders.
The center will forge solidarity links and sustained partnership with social movements and other agents of change in church and society through cooperative research, joint formation programs, exposure-immersion processes and other forms of shared undertaking in the service of the poor and marginalized. This is being realized through the center’s conferences and symposia in which representatives of the social movements are participating on a regular basis.