MANILA, Oct. 12, 2011— Several Catholic priests and a nun are joining a team of “scubasureros” for an underwater cleanup in Visayas.
Fr Tito Soquino, executive director of the Sto. Niño De Cebu Augustinian Social Development Foundation, said the church people are part of a diving group called Seaknights which collect garbage from the sea.
“There are 5 to 10 priest scuba divers who are involved in this. As a matter of fact, there is also a nun who is still training,” Soquino said during a press briefing in Manila Wednesday.
“We train people to become scuba divers. We ask them to be concern about the marine environment,” he said.
Since the goal of the group is to protect the coastal marine resources, he said, they are hoping that more people particularly priests will join them as time goes on.
“We are encouraging the clergy (to join)… our aim is to develop more priests who will join and become scuba divers,” Soquino said.
The activity is part of this year’s “Duaw sa Sto. Niño” or the visit of the image of the Holy Child Jesus through a fluvial procession to Biliran province on October 20 in coordination with the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Coastguard.
Bringing the Sto. Niño closer to the people and spreading the Church’s teachings on ecology, particularly the fight against climate change and what the people can do to respond to the problem, are the themes of the event.
“The Duaw Sto Nino is one of the major projects of the foundation wherein the Sto. Nino visits the different islands in the archipelago. It’s part of the Thousand Islands project which aims to reach out to 1,000 islands in the country particularly those vulnerable to climate change,” said Soquino.
The priest added that it is also for this reason that Naval Bishop Filomeno Bactol asked them to also visit his diocese.
“He invited us to also visit the diocesan shrine of the St. Therese of the Child Jesus in Calubian, Leyte, to precisely help in the diocesan program of environmental protection,” he said.
The shrine will be celebrating its fiesta on October 22.
Soquino said this is the first time that the Sto.Nino will be visiting a diocese outside Cebu.
“The Sto. Nino being an important icon in the Catholic faith here in our country is going out, reaching out to the islands to remind us of our role in becoming stewards of creation,” he said. [CBCPNews]