The Archdiocese of Manila has launched a “comprehensive evaluation of ecological concerns” ahead of the start of the “Season of Creation” in September.
The archdiocese’s Ecology Ministry has organized online sessions for each of the 13 vicariates in Manila to plan the implementation of the “Laudato Si Action Platforms and Goals.”
The “Season of Creation” is a liturgical memorial of Saint Francis of Assisi, patron of ecology, which will run from September 1 to October 4.
Lou Arsenio, Manila’s ecology coordinator, said the initiative is a response to the call to institutionalize the “seven-year journey to total sustainability in the spirit of Laudato si.”
“One of the primary goals of this activity is to look at the specific environmental issues in different vicariates and come up with a comprehensive plan of actions,” said Arsenio.
The ecology ministry has partnered with the group Living Laudato Si Philippines (LLS) to facilitate discussions on the action platforms and goals.
Adrian Tambuyat, partnerships and communications officer of LLS, stressed the urgency of Pope Francis’ call to act on the Laudato si platforms.
He said “processes may be adopted by different sectors depending on their respective contexts and circumstances.”
In June 2020, the Vatican released a 200-page document that aims to inspire and guide Christians to act on the call of the Church to promote integral ecology and care of creation.
The text titled “On the Journey for Care of the Common Home” guides the public on how to perform personal tasks to achieve concrete measures, such as diet, recycling, among others.
The ecology ministry of the Archdiocese of Manila was established in 2005, 10 years before Pope Francis released the encyclical letter.
“We aim to institutionalize the ecology ministry in every parish,” said Arsenio, adding that there is a need for a “bottom-to-top” approach in identifying the challenges and formulating a plan.
Arsenio encouraged parish priests to “invest” in the creation of ecology ministry and “if necessary, employ lay people who will work full-time.”
In 2019, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines issued a pastoral letter titled “An Urgent Call For Ecological Conversion, Hope In The Face Of Climate Emergency,” urging dioceses to set up ecology desks “that would make ecology their special concern.”