HomeChurch & AsiaPhilippine bishop surprised by Vatican recognition of renewable energy project

Philippine bishop surprised by Vatican recognition of renewable energy project

A Catholic bishop in the central Philippines expressed surprise over the Vatican’s recognition citing his diocese as the first in the world to switch into renewable energy.

In a new document, the Vatican acknowledged the Diocese of Maasin in Southern Leyte province for leading the Church in the use of solar energy.

“The Diocese of Maasin has become the first diocese in the world to equip all parishes with solar panels,” read part of a 265-page Vatican document released last week.

Bishop Precioso Cantillas of Maasin said he was surprised by the recognition, but said it will further inspire the people of the diocese to expand the use of renewable energy.

“I am surprised to know that our humble effort to implement something to preserve our Mother Earth … got a recognition and affirmation at a high level,” said the prelate.

“This news encourages us more to expand the use of renewable energy, solar power, which we have introduced in the diocese,” he added.

Bishop Cantillas said he is hoping that the diocese will reach a level where “we can contribute more significantly to the restoration and preservation of our environment.”

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He expressed hope that other dioceses will follow and adopt alternative power sources “so that God’s creation will be restored even just in a little degree.”

Released on June 18, the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato sì, the book “Journeying Towards Care for our Common Home: Five Years After Laudato Sì” noted the accomplishment of the Diocese of Maasin.

The book aims to guide Catholics on how to bring out concrete ecological actions to address issues that threaten the environment.

The book also contains “best practices” of different countries and organizations.

The Vatican document 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 document stated.

The document was drafted by the “Holy See Interdicastery Table on Integral Ecology”, which was created in 2015 to evaluate ways to best promote and implement integral ecology.

In 2017, the Diocese of Maasin allowed the wide-scale installation of solar panels in its 42 parishes with the help of WeGen, a next generation energy-tech business, as its supplier of technology and manpower.

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