PARAÑAQUE City, September 4, 2014—Laity and clergy alike took time off on Monday, September 1, to gather at the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help (Baclaran Church) in celebration of what is most often exploited, yet rarely cared for—God’s creation.
Presiding over the concelebrated mass, Manila Archbishop Luís Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle urged fellow Church leaders to “integrate the theme and spirit of the Season of Creation in our liturgical celebrations” to provide a “prayerful setting for thanksgiving to God for creation.”
“We celebrate. We give thanks. We retrieve and recover our calling to be stewards, not owners. We are not owners, we are stewards of creation,” he said.
In his homily, Tagle encouraged the faithful to lend the season a penitential atmosphere that expressly calls for a change in lifestyle.
“Don’t we all do an act of penance after confessing our sins? … This season invites us to give Nature a break from our wants and excesses,” he said.
According to Tagle, there is a need to go back to a “decent but simple lifestyle”, turning away from consumerism.
The occasion marked the “Season of Creation”, a time, according to the 1988 Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) pastoral letter “What Is Happening to Our Beautiful Land”, when “we truly thank God for the many ways He has gifted our land and resolve to cherish and protect what remains of this bounty for this and future generations of Filipinos.”
It is a month-long event first celebrated by the Diocese of Imus in 2013.
It officially starts on September 1—“Creation Day”—and ends October 4—the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron of ecology.
The season aims to implement programs that will emphasize the importance of creation as a “priceless gift of the Almighty and Loving Creator who has made us into his own image and likeness.”
Delegates from the Archdiocese of Manila and its suffragan Dioceses of Imus, Kalookan, Antipolo, Infanta, and Parañaque, which hosted the event, expressed their support for various initiatives that seek to protect nature from man’s greed by opposing measures that will destroy the environment in the name of progress.
Large-scale mining, reclamation
These include the proposed Manila Bay reclamation in the coastal areas of Parañaque, Las Piñas, and Cavite, and large-scale mining in the Sierra Madre.
Also in attendance were Bishops Reynaldo Evangelista of Imus and Jesse E. Mercado of Parañaque, RCAM Auxiliary Bishop Bernardino C. Cortez, and the local Redemptorist (C.Ss.R.) missionaries led by Baclaran Shrine rector Rev. Fr. Victorino A. Cueto.
In an earlier statement, Tagle appealed for the education and formation of the faithful in their vocation as stewards of creation, as co-workers of God in developing the goods of the earth for the benefit of all, the promotion of the common good and the stability of future generations. (Raymond A. Sebastián)