‘COVID-19 a wake up call to care for one’s health, environment,’ bishops urge

Published September 1, 2020, 12:53 PM

by Leslie Ann Aquino

“This pandemic is a wake up call, a warning shot to everybody to care for one’s health, and equally (for) the environment because (these) are very much interrelated,” San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza told church-run Radio Veritas Monday.

San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza (CBCP / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO
San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza (CBCP / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO

“I hope we learn from this pandemic, to really care for the environment and for the Season of Creation to create an impact collectively in the country, in the community, in our own family,” added the vice chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA).

Kalookan Bishop Pablo David, CBCP’s acting president, said the pandemic awakened the people of their vulnerabilities.

“It made us realize how helpless we can be despite all the scientific and technological advances that we think we have achieved. There is no way we can face the future with hope in the face of a climate emergency unless we respond with humility to the urgent call for ecological conversion,” he said in a statement.

On Tuesday, church and civil organizations kicked off the Philippine celebration of the Season of Creation (SOC), an annual period of prayer and action observed by 2.2 billion Christians globally.

The observance, which will last until the first week of October, aims to urge people of all faiths to respond to the call to care for Earth, our common home.

“The Season of Creation is a very important period in the Church’s calendar, lasting from the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation on September 1 to the first week of October. During this time, we are asked to focus on God as our Creator and we as creatures in communion with all that was brought into being by the work of His hands,” Father John Leydon, Chairperson of the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) -Pilipinas said.

The online activities lined up include the launching of the Season of Creation, a Virtual Walk for Creation which features communities and sites battling ecological issues, daily reflections, and webinars and press conferences on issues such as Kaliwa Dam, mining, reclamation, financing of coal, promotion and defense of indigenous peoples and environmental defenders’ rights, the advancement of renewable energy, and the Rights of Nature campaign.

International faith communities also expressed solidarity and support for the SOC initiatives in the Philippines.

“We realize that we can turn the crisis we are in today into an opportunity for a better, more just, and sustainable future. All the actions being held as part of the Season of Creation are a testament to that and a sign of hope and inspiration,” said Tomas Insua of GCCM in Rome.

According to the groups, this Season of Creation is an opportunity that is open to all to continue the process of ecological conversion, with the hope of empowering Christians and people of different faiths to commit decisively to care for our common home.

“Let us allow our common home to rest from our throw-away culture, our addiction to consumption, to unlimited economic growth, and to the dirty and deadly fossil fuels. Let us open ourselves to the new normal of interconnectedness and interrelatedness. We are in this together,” Bishop Jose Romeo Lazo of the Archdiocese of Jaro in Iloilo said.

With the theme “Jubilee for the Earth,” the 2020 SOC activities are led by the GCCM Pilipinas and its partners, and backed by the CBCP.