The Order of Friars Minor in the Philippines announced plans to set up solar panels in its facilities and communities across the country.
The religious order has already signed a memorandum of agreement with WeGen Laudato si’ to build an alternative energy source in the congregation’s properties.
Father Cielito Almazan, Minister Provincial of the Franciscan Province of San Pedro Bautista, said the move is a response to the call of Pope Francis to “bring out concrete ecological actions.”
The priest said it has been “our dream to install solar panels in our convents, schools, and churches to reduce dependence on fossil fuel.”
Father Almazan, however, admitted that it took them some time to finally pursue the program “because going full solar could cost the congregation a fortune.”
The priest told LiCAS.news that the opportunity came after the celebration of the Laudato si’ Jubilee in May.
Philippine-based WeGen Energy, established WeGen Laudato Si’, a special purpose company inspired by Pope Francis’ encyclical letter that calls for ecological conversion.
The company was formed specifically to work closely with the Catholic Church and other religious communities in the country to encourage a shift to renewable energy.
Father Almazan said WeGen offers a “no cash-out policy,” which allows congregations, dioceses, and communities to a build solar energy set up.
Father Angel Cortez, head of the Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation ministry of the Franciscans, said Laudato si’ is “our very own spirituality” that the congregation “inherited” from Sit Francis of Assisi.
“We want to own it and be a living witness of that spirituality,” he said.
As we celebrate the fifth year and Jubilee year of the Encyclical Laudato si’, we are also responding to it by our year-long campaign Laudato si’ Revolution,” said Father Cortez.
He said transitioning to renewable energy “is a concrete action responding to the call of the encyclical in combating climate change.”
The priest encouraged other religious congregations to start using alternative energy sources “especially now that the world needs healing from destructive dirty power sources.”