Amidst the pandemic and the natural calamities that are hitting the Philippines, the bishop of the Diocese of Borongan in the central Philippines called on the faithful to heed the call of Pope Francis for “ecological conversion.”
In a pastoral letter for to mark the 7th anniversary of super typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan), which hit the country on Nov. 8, 2013, Bishop Crispin Varquez of Borongan urged the faithful to “remember God’s love and mercy for our people.”
“It has been seven years since super typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda came our way. Despite the pandemic we are going through, we still have fresh memories of the horrors we went through … and the painful months and years after,” said the prelate.
The pastoral message was released as super typhoon Goni hit the country on Sunday, November 1.
“The fact that most of that is now only a painful memory testifies to God’s saving acts at work in our own history,” said Bishop Varquez. “As we thank the Lord, let us also thank those who helped us. They too were agents of God’s mighty hand,” he added.
“Our planet and our poor cry for our attention and right action to save our common home and our more vulnerable brethren in the human family,” said the prelate.
“For this to happen we must heed Pope Francis’ call for ecological conversion. We must move away from the sins of environmental abuse and neglect to environmental and social justice to show that we are truly returning to the Lord,” added Bishop Varquez.
The prelate said that while the challenges of super typhoon Haiyan helped strengthen the faith of the people, lessons from the past should help Filipinos face the pandemic and other threats “with hope and an enthusiasm to do acts of charity to others who suffer and are in need.”