(This is a timely message from Bishop Pabillo for this year’s Alay Kapwa Lenten Program taken from the Caritas Manila homepage)
Climate change is now in the mouth of everyone, because now it is being experienced by all. We experience untimely and extreme weather conditions. More and more people are attributing human activity as a factor in these climate changes. We have neglected due care that is to be given to the environment. For a long time we have regarded the environment as an inexhaustible source of raw materials and as a passive receptor of all our wastes. Only now do we realize that there is a limit to what the environment can take and to what it can give.
Since the inception of the Alay Kapwa program of the Philippine Church in 1975, we have drummed up the idea that no man is an island, that we have a responsibility to our brothers and sisters who are in need, that we cannot love God without responding to the needs of our brethren. We still do this in our Alay Kapwa program. In fact the need is greater now, what with the catastrophies brought about by climate change. In 2010 alone around 1.5 million Filipinos have been uprooted by extreme weather conditions. The amount that we get from the Alay Kapwa program are set aside to respond to these calamities. But we should also be more pro-active. Thus trainings are given on disaster preparedness to vulnerable areas. Being pro-active however also means that we avoid the human factors that contribute and aggravate to the effects of climate change. This means taking responsibility to care for creation. Hence the program of Alay Kapwa this year is not simply to ask people to contribute for the relief and rehabilitation fund of our Church in the Philippines, but also to educate our people towards good stewardship of the earth. In fact if we take care of the environment we are doing good to our brothers and sisters. We now have to realize that it is not enough to take care of our fellow human beings. As Christians, we also have, to take care of our fellow creatures, that is, all of creation!
In our situation now, we cannot afford to remain in the “business-as-usual” mode. Our usual way of behaving, of spending, of living, have contributed to our sorry state. Business, government and church have to heed the call to change to start reversing our destructive situation. May this season of Lent be really a season of conversion for all of us – conversion towards greater love for our brethren and greater care of the earth. Let us be generous in our efforts to curb our wasteful ways and generous to contribute to the needy and to our stewardship of Mother Earth!
Chair, ECSA – JP National Director,
National Secretariat for Social Action – Justice and Peace
(Please visit the Caritas Manila homepage for more details on how you can help click on http://caritasmanila.org.ph/)