“Code Red for humanity” is how the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres describes the latest IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, which shows the world is dangerously close to irreversible global warming unequivocally caused by human activities. This is the context where we are called to celebrate the Season of Creation, renewing our home which is on the verge of the abyss.
From September 1 to October 4, the Christian family celebrates the beauty and goodness of creation. This global celebration began in 1989 with the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s recognition of Creation Day, which is September 1, and is now embraced by the wide ecumenical community.
In 2003, through the Pastoral Statement of the Permanent Council “Celebrating Creation Day and Creation Time,” CBCP called for the observance of Creation time. In 2015, Pope Francis formally added the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation to the Catholic calendar as an annual day of prayer. And in 2016, the Holy Father officially invited all Catholics to celebrate the full season. This year, our theme for the Season of Creation is “A Home for all? Renewing the Oikos of God.” In the Philippines, we extend our celebration of this special season to the second Sunday of October, the Indigenous People’s Sunday.
This “time for creation” offers, in the words of Pope Francis, “individual believers and communities a fitting opportunity to reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which he has entrusted to our care, and to implore his help for the protection of creation as well as his pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live.”
Let us pray for the two important meetings that are happening this year. The UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) gathers nations around the world to face the problem of biodiversity loss and the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) to address the urgency of the climate crisis. These two issues, climate and biodiversity, are intricately connected, with climate change projected to become an increasingly important driver of biodiversity loss.
On behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, drawing inspiration from our previous pastoral letters and from the vision of Laudato Si‘, I would like to enjoin all to:
1. Celebrate the Season of Creation with your families, communities and parishes. To help you with the celebration please visit https://www.facebook.com/CBCPLaudatoSi for more resources.
2. Participate in the activities organized through the National Laudato Si‘ Program to roll out the Laudato Si’ Action Platform – a 7-year journey together towards living the vision of Laudato Si‘.
3. Sign the Healthy Planet, Healthy People Petition. Invite your families and friends to sign this petition for the upcoming two big meetings on Biodiversity and Climate Change. I encourage all dioceses and parishes to use their social media platforms by connecting to the Facebook page of the CBCP National Laudato Si‘ Program to monitor signatures from the Philippines.
Our common home is on the brink of catastrophe. Urgent actions are needed. We hope that this Season of Creation would lead us to renew our commitment to action to ensure that all creation will have a safe and healthy home to flourish and participate in renewing the Oikos of God.
For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines:
+ROMULO G. VALLES, D.D.
Archbishop of Davao
23 August 2021
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