Lamesa ni San Jose for Persons Deprived of Liberty
By Myrna Bermudo
A feeding program was started to regularly feed persons deprived of liberty (PDL) in Camarines Sur. Dubbed as Lamesa ni San Jose (St. Joseph’s Table) it is a regular feeding program for PDL or Lugaw para sa mga Preso .
For Fr. Jay Aguilar, director of Maximilian Ministry, the lack of nutritious food for the poor, the sick and those deprived of liberty was among the realities that surfaced during the lockdown due to the pandemic. Most of the poor lost their jobs. Thus, visits of the families of PDLs have become less frequent. This also means lack of food for PDLs.
Inspired by St. Joseph, Fr. Aguilar says that one of the devotions attached to the saint is St. Joseph’s Table. It is a devotion honoring the saint and distributing food to the less fortunate.
Lamesa ni San Jose is an attempt to partner with various NGOs, civic organizations and generous benefactors so that PDL will have a regular feeding program.
Caring for the PDL is a priority program for the Caceres Commission on Prison Welfare, now known as Maximillian Ministry, in honor of St. Maximillian Kolbe.
“In the Archdiocese of Caceres, four penology facilities are recipients of the pastoral care of the ministry on prison welfare. There are about 1,600 PDLs. The provincial jail in Tinangis, Pili, is the most populated among the facilities. The three other facilities under the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in Naga, Iriga and Tigaon are also being served by the Maximilian Ministry volunteers.”
Maximillian Ministry has three areas of apostolate. First is the worship and prayer arm which brings the regular celebration of the sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and Confession. Bible prayer meetings and praying of the rosary is being held inside the facilities. Second is the humanitarian and social services arm which helps to provide PDLs their basic needs, conducts visitation and gives counselling services. And the third is evangelization arm which aims to bring the message of Jesus Christ.
As the Lamesa ni San Jose feeds those deprived of liberty, Fr. Aguilar firmly believes that his priesthood is also being nourished.
“Mas nagiging padi ako pag nakakatabang ako sa tawo na dai makakabalos kan tabang na itinatao ko,” the priest shares.
Lamesa ni San Jose feeding program will be held every 18th of the month. To contribute to this program, please visit the office of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Concepcion Pequeῆa, Naga City and look for Fr. Jay Aguilar.