NORZAGARAY, Bulacan, Feb. 3, 2015—A missionary serving Indigenous People (IP) communities on the Sierra Madre mountain range in Bulacan believes Pope Francis has proved to be “prophetic” for reaffirming the moral and spiritual dimensions of what the Church calls the “stewardship of Creation” in a world that has seen, often catastrophically, the adverse impacts of “greed, wasteful culture, and global materialism.”
According to Br. Martin Francisco, a member of the Blessed Sacrament Missionaries of the Poor (BSMP), care for the environment is a “spiritual work of mercy,” stressing that all life forms are integrated and connected to one another.
‘Culture of waste’
The religious brother, who is also known for his environmental advocacies, especially in the Sierra Madre area, told CBCP News in an interview that an encyclical on the environment which the Holy Father is expected to release soon is “most timely” given that it is in keeping with the “signs of our time.”
In a meeting with Italy’s National Federation of Farmers Saturday, the Argentine pontiff renewed his call to protect the Earth, while condemning a culture of waste that has caused “misery and suffering for many families.”
In his speech, the church media Zenit.org reported the Pope as underscoring the important work farmers carry out to cultivate the earth.
Reminding attendees of his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi, the “patron saint of ecology,” and his call to “rediscover the love for the earth as a mother,” the Holy Father shared that the faithful are enjoined to care for the earth so that it may continue to be as God intended it to be: “a source of life for the entire human family.”
Meanwhile, during his “Encounter with the Youth” held at the University of Santo Tomás (UST) on Jan. 18, the “Green Pope” shared the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)’s appeal for environmental stewardship, urging the faithful to think about “the moral dimension of our activities and lifestyles, our consumption and our use of the earth’s resources.”
“Today, I ask you to do this in the context of your own lives and your commitment to the building up of Christ’s kingdom,” he said.
Noting the gravity posed by the earth’s destruction to the well-being of people, His Holiness exhorted young Filipinos to express concern for nature.
“Dear young people, the just use and stewardship of the earth’s resources is an urgent task, and you have an important contribution to make. You are the future of the Philippines. Be concerned about what is happening to your beautiful land!” the Pope declared. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)