(Service Workers’ Evangelization, Apostolate, and Training)
by Myra A. Patambang, director for Lasallian Formation and Social Action
“The Philippine Signum Fidei Association, faithful to the Lasallian charism that inspires and energizes it, strives to proclaim the Good News of Jesus to the world and takes this as their fundamental option.” (SFA Mission)
During the past 30 years, most of the Signum Fidei communities across the country have either directly or indirectly engaged in various educational apostolates that put premium on bringing the Gospel most especially to the public school students and children in the orphanages. These are conducted through direct Catechesis, facilitating retreats and recollections, tutorial classes in various disciplines, Sunday High School, pastoral care for the sick, values formation, fund raising for scholarships and many other relevant activities that foster the mission of Signum Fidei.
Realizing that most of the outreach programs are directed to the outside community, the desire to reach out to the “internal community” began to take shape. We have “outsourced” employees who are actually in the front lines and are literally everywhere in the campus and they are present in almost all Lasallian schools in the country. These agency-hired employees like the security guards, maintenance and blue collar job people are only provided with basic skills training courtesy of their mother agencies.
The SFA wishes to reach out to them through relevant values formation activities including educational and feasible livelihood training. Project SW.E.A.T is an attempt at recognizing the gift and dignity of these people whose sweat determines everyday operations of the institutions they work so hard for. Since its conception, necessary steps and protocols have been taken.
As to date, several Signum Fidei communities have gone ahead in the three areas (i.e. evangelization, apostolate and training). Maintenance personnel, housekeepers and security guards (from De La Salle–Zobel, De La Salle University-Dasmariñas, De La Salle Health Sciences Institute, University of St. La Salle in Bacolod and De La Salle University-Manila) have been undergoing and participating in Lasallian and Christian Formation with focus on Good Manners and Right Conduct as well as sessions on personality development and productivity in the workplace.
At De La Salle Health Sciences Institute, 31 housekeepers and 15 security guards have participated in Lasallian Formation seminars and regular prayer meetings have been held since the program commenced last November. The same people have been involved in outreach activities such as rendering services during relief operations and supporting various fund raising activities for the benefit of typhoon victims. This responds to the “apostolate” dimension.
As regards training, coordination with the City Government through its Community Based Livelihood Skills Training Program is underway. We are in the process of recruitment among the SWEAT participants as to who may be interested to undergo a 3-month training which may cover any of the following areas: automotive, welding, doormat making, electrical installation and maintenance, computer repairs and servicing among others.
Project SWEAT is an opportunity for volunteerism. Signum Fidei members in particular are enjoined to share their gifts and talents to our agency-hired employees.
Live Jesus in our hearts… forever!