By Leslie Ann Aquino
Maasin Bishop Precioso Cantillas said on Tuesday that the recent citation by the Vatican of the diocese as the first in the world to switch to renewable energy will further inspire them to expand its use to preserve Mother Earth.
“I am surprised to know that our humble effort to implement something to preserve our Mother Earth, heeding the call of Pope Francis’ Laudato si Encyclical letter, got recognition and affirmation at a high level,” Cantillas said.
“This news encourages us more to expand the use of renewable energy, solar power, which we have introduced in the diocese,” he added.
Cantillas said he is hoping that they will reach a level where “we can contribute more significantly to the restoration and preservation of our environment.”
He also expressed hope that other dioceses will follow suit and adopt alternative power sources.
“We also hope that more dioceses will adopt these alternative power sources so that God’s creation will be restored even just to a little degree, and that the Church is continuing Christ’s mission of restoring all things back to how the Father has willed it,” said Cantillas.
The Vatican said the Diocese of Maasin in Southern Leyte province has become “the first diocese in the world to equip all parishes with solar panels.”
According to CBCP News, this was mentioned in the book “Journeying Towards Care for our Common Home: Five Years After Laudato Sì,” released on June 18, for the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato sì.
The Diocese of Maasin allowed the wide-scale installation of solar panels in its 42 parishes in 2018 with the help of WeGen, a next generation energy-tech business, as its supplier of technology and manpower.
The Vatican also cited the renewable energy advocacy of the Philippines’ Episcopal Commission on the Laity.
The lay apostolate body has also partnered with WeGen to encourage the use of solar energy in church institutions and communities.
“In this project, they also promote information and communication campaigns to spread the teachings of Pope Francis and the Laudato si,” the Vatican document said.
Drafted by the “Holy See Interdicastery Table on Integral Ecology,” the book was created in 2015 to evaluate ways to best promote and implement integral ecology.
The book also aims to guide Catholics on how to bring out concrete ecological actions.