Cardinal Jose Advincula of Manila reaffirmed his commitment to advance environmental protection as one of the priority campaigns of his archdiocese.
“Environmental protection is an important part of my life,” he said in a message during the general assembly of the Ecology Ministry of the Archdiocese of Manila on August 7.
“The faithful can expect my full support and patronage to our struggle to protect and defend the environment,” he said.
Cardinal Advincula appealed to everyone “to prioritize and address environmental concerns” that affect the lives of the vulnerable sector of society.
“Although our focus nowadays is on the pandemic that we are going through, we cannot ignore environmental issues. It is a concern that must be prioritized,” he said.
The prelate likened environmental protection to a person’s health, saying the public must protect all creations “like how we protect ourselves from the coronavirus.”
“We do everything we can to prevent the infection and spread of COVID-19, so we also do everything to take care of our environment,” he said.
More than 220 church workers and priests in the archdiocese joined the online gathering, which was part of preparations for the observance of the “Season of Creation” in September.
Cardinal Advincula said it is “only fitting that even in the midst of the pandemic, we continue to celebrate the Season of Creation and raise the awareness of our brothers and sisters of our collective duty as trustworthy stewards of the environment.”
The prelate encouraged the faithful “to make Laudato si’ happen in our daily lives.”
Laudato si’ is the encyclical of Pope Francis on the “Care on Our Common Home” that encourages humanity to perform concrete ecological actions.
The prelate said the celebration of the “Season of Creation” is a response to the call of Pope Francis for “everyone to have an ecological conversion.”
The “Season of Creation” is a global celebration that runs from September 1 to October 4 every year. This year’s theme is “A Home for All? Renewing the Oikos of God.”
Lou Arsenio, coordinator of the Ecology Ministry in the archdiocese, said a series of activities in preparation for the celebration of the “Season of Creation” is ongoing.
“We have already started training and workshops on Laudato si’ Action Platforms and Goals to capacitate parish church workers in cascading the campaign to community members,” she said.
Arsenio said the ministry is now in the process of developing a “comprehensive plan of action” that will be submitted to the cardinal for approval.
“We are gathering and documenting all ecological concerns in the parish level to the vicariate level,” she said.
“This is a bottom-up approach to allow everyone, especially in the parish community, to voice out their concerns,” she said.