Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila invited the faithful to “renew our commitment” as keepers of creation as he led the opening of the month-long “Season of Creation” on September 1, 2019.
Speaking during Mass at the Quezon City Memorial Circle, he stressed that greed and other “wrongdoing” are the core of environmental issues, reported ZENIT news agency.
“We have forgotten how to take care of our trees, animals, waters and land. We have become greedy, and disrespected our common home,” Tagle said in his homily.
“And so today we appeal to everyone: let us renew our pledge to respect one another and the web of life,” he said.
Nothing to celebrate
The cardinal stressed that there would be nothing to celebrate “if we will not change our relationship with one another and with the ecosystem surrounding us”.
“Thus, It is vital that we change the way we live,” Cardinal Tagle pointed out.
“And it is not yet too late. We have this opportunity every day to celebrate the Season of Creation by being respectful, loving, compassionate and selfless,” he said.
Among the highlights of the gathering was the “Walk for Creation” attended by thousands of people from different schools, parishes, religious communities, and environmental groups.
They also expressed commitment to do concrete and sustainable actions that will address the challenges of the current “ecological crisis”.
Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan, Vice President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, and Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao also attended the event.
Since 1989 the Orthodox Christians have marked Sept. 1 as a day of prayer for creation, a tradition adopted by Pope Francis in 2015.
He urged the faithful to see September as a season to raise awareness about environment protection, until Oct. 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, patron of the environment.
The planet in crisis
According to Fr. John Leydon, chairperson of the Global Catholic Climate Movement – Pilipinas, “the planet is in crisis”.
He said that the Church is coming to “a deeper awareness of who we are supposed to be in this situation”.
“We are being called to worship God as our Creator. The Season of Creation is a special time we set aside for worship, and to open ourselves to listen to His voice, heard in the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor,” Fr. Leydon said.
For his part, Fr. Edwin Gariguez, Executive Secretary of Caritas Philippines said, “we cannot be business as usual”.
“The church, as much as the government and all other sectors are challenged to take climate emergency seriously, and treat it with urgency,” Fr. Gariguez said.
“We cannot just be bystanders anymore. If we want to be called sons and daughters of God, then, by all means, we have to start caring for one another, and for our common home,” he said.