Priest gives bite-size Laudato Si’ to youth

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Main speaker Yolando Velasco, a United Nations Officer on Climate Change based in Germany (Photo: ICMAS)

GUIGUINTO, Bulacan, Sept. 8, 2015 – A priest breaks down Pope Francis’ 40,000-word encyclical for young people and other participants at an ecology seminar on Sept. 4, explaining the document’s more important points.

Fr. Dexter Toledo, OFM. Fr. Toledo, OFM, Provincial Secretary of the Order of Friars Minor in the Philippines and an ecological advocate, gave the first talk, on the Theology of Creation where he also explained the encyclical Laudato Si’.

According to the priest, Laudato Si’ discusses the following salient points:

  • The earth is “our common home”;
  • The cry of the earth is also the cry of the poor;
  • There is a need for dialogue between science and religion;
  • Each creature has its own purpose;
  • The world needs integral ecology and ecological conversion;
  • The faithful have to face the challenge of technology.

Malolos’ ecological concerns

Sponsored by the Immaculate Conception Major Seminary (ICMAS) in cooperation with the Diocese of Malolos Commission on Social Action (CSA) and Diocesan Ecological and Environmental Program (DEEP), the seminar held at the ICMAS Gymnasium also featured CSA Chair Fr. Efren Basco who presented to the participants the ecological action plan of the Diocese of Malolos.

Fr. Dexter Toledo, OFM. Fr. Toledo, OFM, Provincial Secretary of the Order of Friars Minor in the Philippines (Photo: ICMAS)

According to him, the diocese faces ecological concerns like the Meycuayan and Marilao Rivers, landfill projects in Obando and San Jose del Monte as well as mining in the Sierra Madre Mountains.

He told the young participants in the vernacular, “We cannot at once change the minds of the elders. But you, dear young people, are the hope which we have. We are informing you about this matter so that you may have deep concern for the environment”.

Everyone’s concern

The seminar’s main speaker, Yolando Velasco, a United Nations Officer on Climate Change based in Germany, discussed the perils of climate change, saying, “Climate change is not the main problem because climate does change. The problem that we face is the speed of change. The prediction of scientists in 1990 that may happen in 2050 is already happening now.”

He said Laudato Si’ expresses the universality of the Catholic Church because ecology is everyone’s concern.

Stressing that the prevention of climate change is a shared responsibility, Velasco said, “Our efforts to prevent the rapid change of climate do not count yet because little labors cannot overcome the big deteriorations that others do.”

He also gave practical advice on how to help save Mother Earth.

Velasco used the acronym “LEAD” which stands for:

  • Learn about the environment
  • Educate others
  • Act by a change of lifestyle
  • Dialogue with others about ecology

Makarbon and ‘di makarbon

Dr. Metodio Palaypay, MD, former president of the National Solid Waste Management Commission, also explained the importance of waste segregation and the process of zero waste management.

He revealed that the Filipino term for biodegradable and non-biodegradable is makarbon and ‘di makarbon respectively.

The Liturgy of the Word concluded the event with Fr. Kent Andrew Apena urging the participants to reflect on God’s sensitivity towards man through creation.

Sems. Brian Samson and Leonard Laurio with Bernadette Mae Aguirre, Ms. Philippines Eco-Tourism 2013 hosted the event. (Arvin Ray C. Jimenez / CBCP News)

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