Friday, April 13, 2012

'Pro Bono' Giving of Gifts

A journalist of the Catholic Times introduces us to the Latin phrase  'pro bono publico,' which is usually shortened to pro bono, meaning an offering of services or knowledge to the public, free of charge. It is often used by lawyers who offer their services to the poor to defend them before the law.

She tells us that this common Western custom is taking hold here in Korea with entertainers and prominent people in society, who are offering their talents free of charge for the public good.

When one gives monetarily this can easily be a one-time gift  but when giving your talent and special knowledge, this continues the giving.  Donating one's gifts  is changing the face of the culture of donations with a new model.

She gives us the example of a parish where persons offered their special talents, vocal, literary and artistic, to help in efforts to rebuild their church.

This is now a common element in our society. It is not only those who are eminent in society but ordinary  citizens who are offering their special gifts. And groups with common purposes are also willing to use their activities for the common good. In these efforts, more is contributed than what the giver materially offers, as it tends to involve everyone, increasing interest and participation in what is being attempted.

For the Christian, she says, it also is a way of giving thanks to God for the gifts received. She hopes that these responses will continue: using our talents and capabilities to make the world a better place for all, without any desire for remuneration, only being done for the joy of helping others.


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