Moved by the words of Laudato Si, SJCBI President Fr. Gerard Ariston Perez urged Catholic delegates and members of different faith communities in Baggao to work together for the care of our common home during his welcome address for the opening of the Season of Creation 2020 with the theme “Jubilee for the Earth: New Rhythms, New Hopes” at the SJCBI grounds last September 1.
“Pope Francis addresses Laudato Si’ to “every person on the planet,” for we all share a common home – the earth,” said Fr. Perez
Expressing the significance of the event, the priest shared important themes inspired from Pope Francis’ encyclical including interior conversion, protection of human dignity, impact of poverty, technological and economic development, etc.
He calls the community to unite as a family and be stewards of the created world.
“Become more aware of our connectedness. Care for one another and creation includes understanding that “everything is connected” and that the economy, politics, community involvement, and technology all affect the future of the planet and humankind,” Fr. Perez told in his remark.
The SJCBI President conveyed the strong link of human dignity to the care of creation through practical and simple examples relating to the community’s day to day lifestyle and habits.
“Changes to lifestyle and consumption habits can make a big difference. For example, get a re-usable water bottle, take shorter showers, walk, bike or take public transportation instead of driving, recycle, compost food waste, and buy energy efficient appliances,” said the College President
“Make changes institutionally at your parish, school, or workplace. For example, start recycling and composting, like we do here in Baggao, share electronically instead of printing, do an energy audit, and install solar panels. I am proud to say that we will be the first school in this part of the province to use renewable energy. In fact, the solar panels are already delivered waiting to be installed,” he added.
Fr. Perez also mentioned the climate crisis’ disproportionate impact to the community especially to the poor, whom he said, contributed least to climate change yet they suffer from it the most. He then stated a must shared responsibility that every one must offer to others and for creation.
“Support local efforts to solve environmental problems. Community groups around the country are working to make changes that can make a big difference. Find out what is going on locally and get involved. Vote into office those who have a heart for the environment and a sustainable program for the protection and care of our common home,” stated Fr. Perez
Another Baggaoeño advocating for care of the earth is no less than the mother of the town, Mayor Joan Dunuan.
In her closing message, she revealed her doubts in gathering the various religious leaders for planning at the Mayor’s Office last August 30.
“I was thinking no one would come…Baka magkaroon tayo ng individual differences. Ang hirap kayang i-gather yung mga interfaith group…magkakaiba ng way of expressing their own faith in their own denomination. How will I do this? Probably, I will stay in the middle,” said Mayor Dunuan.
Despite this, she expressed her happiness to be part in this ecumenical movement working for the environment.
“We tried to invite them and I was amazed; in fact, natuwa ako. I was so glad and happy. How could we try to gather all of these people at one time, in one event? [It] was really a very beautiful, lucky and blessed day because everyone came over. And everyone instituted and everyone accepted to join us in this activity,” stated the Mayor.
The Mayor thanked all the delegates from various religious denominations for giving support to this advocacy. Representatives from Jesus Christ Fellowship led by Pastor Ramiro Daganta and Jesus Christ Flock headed by Pastor Christopher Victorio were present.
The event promotes the active participation of the community to take concrete steps – from reducing consumption to working for political change – to better care for creation.
The opening liturgy that was held in the SJCBI grounds is an anticipation of the greater participation of the community to the season dedicated to a renewed relationship to the creator and an active participation for the preservation of the common home.
The event started with the opening message of Fr. Perez, followed by the explanation of the theme by Fr. Leifmark Butacan, then a solemn prayer service presided by Rev. Christian Dave Remudaro. The event culminated with the presentation of activities for the Season of Creation by Mrs. Marissa Palomares.
The activities for the whole month of September until October 4 is expected to be participated by the whole community of SJCBI and the whole Municipality of Baggao.
By: Joseph Timoteo S. Asuncion