Church and pro-environment groups called on the public to respond to the climate crisis “with urgency” as the Catholic Church marked the start of the observance of Laudato si’ Week on Sunday, May 22.
Laudato si’ Week celebrates the anniversary of Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical letter “Laudato si’: On Care For Our Common Home.”
Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said this year’s celebration invites everyone to bring the entire human family together to protect our common home.
“You know for sure that this concern is not exclusive to us members of the Roman Catholic Church,” he said. “It is an advocacy that is shared by practically all communities of faith, all nations around the world, and all peoples of good will,” said Bishop David of the Diocese of Kalookan.
He said the observance is an “opportunity to exercise the genuine sense of Catholicity by reaching out to other fellow Christians, fellow believers, and fellow environmental advocates in the spirit of dialogue, solidarity and social friendship.”
This year’s Laudato Si’ Week celebration, which runs from May 22 to 29, carries the theme “Listening And Journeying Together. Listening And Traveling Together.”
Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, national director of Caritas Philippines, said Laudato si’ Week is “a stark reminder of the impending danger for our single home.”
The prelate said there is “a greater need to understand what our responsibility is to Mother Nature” amid human activities that lead to ecological destruction.
Bishop Bagaforo lambasted local government units that favor business interests over the welfare of communities affected by destructive extraction projects.
The prelate said that Caritas Philippines decries the “faster fossil gas expansions” and “ongoing coal-fired power plants” in the country.
“May each of our celebrations of Laudato si’ Week be a living witness of our transformation, of our recognition of the right of nature, and of our love and respect for each other and for our roles for the betterment of our one and only home,” said Bishop Bagaforo.
On May 24, Living Laudato si’ Philippines (LLS) and the Archdiocese of Manila will host an exhibit and an interfaith and community dialogue at the Manila Cathedral to tackle various environmental concerns.
Rodne Galicha, executive director of LLS, encouraged the faithful to “reconnect with nature and the most vulnerable as we learn from the errors of the past and move forward leaving no one behind.”
“Through collective efforts and solidarity, together we will be able to restore ecosystems and regenerate back to ecological balance,” he said.