‘Caring for environment is worship’ – priest

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Fr. Gil Manaog, a consultor in the Archdiocese of Palo, caring for the environment is a lifestyle and not just a one-time undertaking. (Photo: Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros)

TACLOBAN City, Sept. 1, 2015 – An Opus Dei priest in this city strongly equates care for the environment with worship, as people observe today “World Day of Prayer for the Environment.

“We can say then that to care for nature is a form of worship. Respecting and making the world livable is a way of relating to God,” Fr. Gil Manaog explained.

He added that making good use of the gift (and sharing it to the next generation) is a form of respect and gratitude rendered to the Giver of the gift.

Manaoag warned, though, “Ingratitude is a terrible human defect,” as “all humans participate and form part of nature-hood.”

Following the proclamation of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato si (Praise be!) On Care of Our Common Home, various sectors concentrated efforts towards preserving the environment.

READ: Davao Catholics learn organic farming for World Day of Prayer for Creation 

Environment Management subject

Super typhoon Yolanda’s massive flooding and devastation in the lowlands have also called the attention of local government units and even the academic sector towards re-greening.

Recently, the St. Paul School of Business and Law in Yolanda-stricken Palo in Leyte joined the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in its efforts to rehabilitate the mangrove and beach forest.

According to the school president, Dean Erwin Vincent Alcala, who is a church benefactor and volunteer, they found inspiration from Pope Francis’ encyclical which calls on all men of good will to help care for Mother Nature.

The school is now implementing a new curriculum to include Environment Management among its subjects, one that is outcome-based and community-oriented.

“Firstly, one may ask why do we have to be responsible for the care of nature? Every person, each one of us should recognize our giftedness,” Manaog said.

According to the priest, care is the name of this sacred mission of man who spatially inhabit the same ground called Earth, the common home.

READ: Tagle renews call for ‘ecological conversion’ 

Changes in lifestyle, production

“Who then is the recipient-agent of this mission to look out for nature and environment? The entire human race in general, and, in a special way, every believer of the graciousness of Father God. The charge of nature’s integrity is incumbent to every Christian,” Manaog justified.

He added, “As the Holy Father reiterates, man is intellect, will and nature. In sum, [the] consciousness of our giftedness demands a conversion of the mind: the realization that we are not totally different from nature and giving the latter utmost care … is an act of faith.”

Manaog reiterated Pope Francis’ statement that every effort to protect and improve the world entails profound changes in lifestyles, models of production, consumption and established structures of power.

These factors govern societies “whose effect is now experienced in the destruction of human environment and the so-called ecological crisis”, he added.

Further he explained, “Definitely ecological conversion demands a concerted effort from the government, various sector of our society and from all men and women of goodwill.” (Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros / CBCP News)

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