MANILA, Oct. 28, 2016 – “HUWAG MAGKALAT!! Ang mga yumaong mahal sa buhay ay nangangailangan ng Panalangin hindi basura…” (Do not litter! Your deceased loved ones need prayers, not garbage.)
This is the appeal of the Archdiocese of Manila, through the Ministry on Ecology, as millions of the faithful are expected to flock to the cemeteries in commemoration of all Saints’ Day and all Souls’ Day on Nov. 1 and 2.
“Since 2005, we have called on people to practice an ‘Eco-friendly Undas’,” disclosed Lou Valencia Arsenio, Program Coordinator of the Archdiocese of Manila Ministry on Ecology.
The commemoration, called “Undas” in the vernacular, is widely observed in the Philippines. Families and friends traditionally visit cemeteries to hold gatherings around the graves of their departed loved ones and to offer flowers and candles. But in most cases, they leave them there as garbage.
“Our appeal takes on a special significance this year in the context of the Jubilee of Mercy and in the light of Pope Francis’ teachings in the encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ wherein the Holy Father called on the Church and the world to acknowledge the urgency of our environmental challenges,” explained Arsenio.
“Mercy to God’s creation is mercy to the next generations… Our appeal ‘Magdasal at Huwag Magkalat’ (‘Pray and do not litter’) is our concrete way of reminding the faithful to embody the call of the Jubilee of Mercy and the teachings of ‘Laudato Si,’” the ecology ministry program coordinator pointed out.
From the time Pope Francis released Laudato Si’, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle called on the faithful to take the encyclical “seriously.”
The challenge now is to turn the document into action, especially the call to “integral ecological conversion,” stressed the prelate.
“Let us take the bold step of reviewing and changing our lifestyles, our patterns of consumption, of spending,” said Tagle.
‘Spiritual work of mercy’
Based on the teachings of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, to have a Mass offered for the repose of the souls of the departed and to offer prayers are more beneficial than any other sympathy card or bouquet of flowers. To remember the departed loved ones in the holy Mass and through our prayers and sacrifices is more important so that, “thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God.”
Praying for the living and the dead is one of the seven “spiritual works of mercy”. According to Catholic teaching, praying for the living and the dead is one of the most powerful ways the faithful can live mercy. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas / CBCP News)