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“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." – Frederick Douglass, American Abolitionist, Lecturer, Author and Slave, 1817-1895)
“To be poor and independent is very nearly an impossibility.” - William Corbett, 1830
“I helped the poor and they called me a saint, I asked why they were poor and they called me a Communist’ – Brazilian Bishop Helder Camara (1909-1999)
The PREDA Foundation Inc. is perhaps best know for its campaign work and investigations into syndicates and paedophile rings sexually exploiting children, it's successful rescue and treatment of these children and for bringing prosecutions against offenders both Filipino and foreign that ended in convictions.
The quest for justice and decency for Filipinos is the main goal of the PREDA team of dedicated and committed Filipino human rights workers. This group started PREDA in 1974.
Today there are twenty professional social workers, psychologists, investigators and others who make up the PREDA Team.
The original goal was to help teenagers from broken homes who were trying to forget their problems through substance abuse. They were further punished by society and their families until PREDA Foundation was set up to help them deal with their family problem and rehabilitate the parents and restore family unity, respect and love.
PREDA was started in 1974 by Fr. Shay Cullen, an Irish Columban Missionary, and Merle and Alex Hermoso, a Filipino couple dedicated to helping Filipino youth.
Whilst the project began with a tiny budget and a few donations, The Foundation has since grown and expanded its work.
Today the majority who took the course of personality development are successful in life. PREDA's work has expanded into preventive education, community development, livelihood development, fair trading activities and many more related projects.
(PREDA AWARDS: http://www.preda.org/work/predaawards.html)
“There is no higher RELIGION than human service. To work for the common good is the greatest creed.'' - Albert Schweitzer, 1875-1965, German Born Medical Missionary, Theologian, Musician, and Philosopher
The Message of Christmas
(republishing, copying, no restrictions)
By: Father Shay Cullen
The Nativity - The birth of Jesus Christ. Every year, more than 400 million people celebrate Xmas around the world-that makes Xmas one of the world’s biggest religious and commercial festivities.
Soon the Christian churches in the Philippines and around the world will be packed-out on Christmas night celebrating the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, savior of the world. Christians believe that Jesus came to save us from sin, not only from our personal sin by calling us to repent and believe the good news, but saves us from being crushed and downtrodden by the "sins of the world", or from the sinners in the world. The phrase "sins of the world" sums up every evil created by corrupt, depraved and sinful human beings.
The really big thing about Christmas and the birth of Jesus Christ (and even non-Christians can welcome this), is that Christ brought a message of equality for all, and established the dignity and rights of women and children. Amazingly, the poor learned that the individual was not a slave of the state but has profound inalienable rights as a human being, a child of God. So there really is much to celebrate at Christmas time.
So if ever you are made feel inferior by others, empower yourself with the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth and know that all humans are equal before God which should be the basis of justice and equality before the law of land.
However, many people, wealthier and more powerful than others, don't accept that, they believe that they have inherited superior social status, have entitlement above others, even have the aura of "the divine right of kings" that comes with money and status. The downtrodden have to stand up and assert their rights, most preferably without violence.
Jesus was born as an impoverished child and stories spread that there was a rival born that would establish a new kingdom in Palestine. King Herod the Great, a bloodthirsty tyrant, ordered all boys two years and younger to be killed. What a slaughter on the word of one cruel power-crazed man determined to prolong his family dynasty. Jesus and his parents were refugees, asylum seekers in Egypt. Good they were not victimized by harsh immigration control laws like we have today in many rich countries.
There they were safe from the blood-drenched swords and knives of King Herod's assassins and death squads. Although today, we still have killers like this doing away with outspoken people pursuing the truth and social justice, even priests and pastors. The sins of the world are very much with us still. Few people have taken up the challenge to repent and believe the Good News and be friends and followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus and his mission have not failed, humans have.
We have, in different degrees, failed to accept and follow him and live up to his teachings to love and respect one another, share the wealth and live in peace. Too many people choose to kill and steal from each other and from the weak and the vulnerable.
So true that Christianity (there are many fake brands) has not failed to change the world, people refuse to change and accept the Christian principles. We must continue to try to make Jesus better known and admired and his teachings more accepted. We can only do this by practicing, as Jesus said, “By your love for one another they will know you are my disciples".
His message is just as dangerous now as it was for Jesus and his disciples. Speaking out for justice and against corruption can get you a bullet in the head. After his birth, he spread the news that all are equal in the eyes of the creator and have equal rights, dignity and a place in God's Kingdom of love and justice. It was a electrifying message and subversive to the theological and political rulers whose position had never been challenged. Immediately they planned his downfall and death.
But poor people were lifted up and empowered by Jesus. The powerless, crushed, no-bodies that had to cringe, crawl and submit to the higher ups were realizing that they had been conned. They were learning that they were not inferior beings after all, but deserving of respect. “You can believe in me”, Jesus said, “God wants all to be respected and to love each other and share the blessings of the earth fairly and equally”. That's the message of Christmas. END