Home Equality & Justice Catholic Church opens ‘Season of Creation,’ calls for commitment to environment

Catholic Church opens ‘Season of Creation,’ calls for commitment to environment

The Catholic Church this week marks the start of the month-long observance of what it describes as the “Season of Creation” by calling on the faithful to commit to the environment.

In 2015, Pope Francis designated Sept. 1 as a “World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation” for the global Church.

In the Philippines, church leaders called for a “radical change of behavior” toward the environment at the start of the celebration.

Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan, acting president of the Catholic bishops’ conference, said this year’s observance is “more timely” because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We cannot claim to have come up with a new normal while we are going through this abnormal situation unless we open ourselves to a radical change of behavior,” said the prelate.

He noted that “all the busy cities in the world are now silent” and most activities have stopped. “It is sending us a message,” said Bishop David.

He said the Earth seems to be telling people that it is time to realize that human beings are just “guests” and not “masters” in this world.

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Bishop David said the pandemic has not only awakened people to their “vulnerability,” but has also “made us realize how helpless we can be despite all the scientific and technological advances that we think we have achieved.”

He said if human beings want to be reconciled with creation, “we must have the humility to confess our formerly arrogant and abusive ways.”

He urged dioceses and parishes to “take the lead in integrating” the movement for the “Season of Creation” in all church ministries.

He said it is “never too late” to act and to “learn to put ourselves in the proper place.”

Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan leads the blessing of seedlings and plants for a model parish garden in his diocese. (Photo by Mark Saludes)

Wake-up call

Archbishop Romeo Lazo of Jaro said the global health crisis is “a wake-up call to take into heart not only the climate, but also human beings.”

“We have more reason to deepen our understanding, care, and to work together in building our common home,” he said. “We are connected with each other and with all creation,” added the prelate.

He called on the faithful to allow “Our Common Home” to rest from the “throwaway culture, our addiction to consumption, to unlimited economic growth, and to the dirty and deadly fossil fuels.”

Archbishop Lazo said it is time for the entire human family to “open ourselves to the new normal of interconnectedness.”

He urged everyone to be “responsible” to keep the world healthy and to “open ourselves to reach out to those in need especially the poor.”

The prelate said it is an “opportune moment of grace to listen to the cries of the poor” and to integrate “creation” into worship and to people’s way of life.

Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos said the pandemic is a “warning shot” for everybody to care for one’s health, “and equally with the environment because they are very much interrelated.”

“I hope we learn from this pandemic to really care for the environment and for the “Season of Creation” to create an impact collectively in the country,” he said.

Several church groups have already initiated activities to help the faithful deepen their understanding on their “role as stewards of creation.”

Last week, the Global Catholic Climate Movement-Pilipinas launched a “40-day inner journey” into Laudato si’ that encourages Filipinos “to perform concrete ecological actions.”

Responding to call of Laudato si’

Columban Father John Leydon, chairman of the movement in the country, said Christians are invited to make use of the quarantine period to respond to the message of Laudato si’.

“We are asked to focus on our liturgical life on God as creator and we as creatures in communion with God’s other creatures,” said the priest.

He said even before the pandemic, Christian churches have already realized that the world is experiencing a “great crisis” and “a climate emergency.”

“Now is our time to take part and act on that emergency by performing personal ecological actions,” said Father Leydon.

On June 18, the Vatican released a 200-page document that aims to inspire and guide Christians to act on the call of the Church to promote integral ecology and care of creation.

The text titled “On the Journey for Care of the Common Home” guides the public on how to perform personal tasks to achieve concrete measures, such as diet, recycling, and divestment on dirty energy sources, among others.

Trucks used in a coal mine in Australia. (Photo by Jason Benz Bennee/shutterstock.com)

From Sept. 1 to Oct. 4, Christians around the world will observe the “Season of Creation” with the theme “The Hope of a Jubilee Time for the Earth and the Poor.”

It is a liturgical memorial of St. Francis of Assisi, patron of ecology.

In the Philippines, the celebration has been extended until Oct. 11 in connection with the celebration of the annual Indigenous Peoples’ Sunday.

The Philippine Catholic Church is celebrating in 2020 the “Year of Ecumenism, Inter-religious Dialogue, and Indigenous Peoples.”

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