The Santo Nino de Cebu Augustinian Social Development Foundation, Inc. (SNAF) the social development arm of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Filipino Augustinians, joined the rest of the world in celebrating the 6th year Anniversary of the Papal Encyclical Laudato Si.
In time for the opening of the week-long celebrations, SNAF facilitated a symposium on the Papal Encyclical held at the Sacred Heart Parish in Toledo City on May 16, 2021. Together with the sisters of the Mission Congregation of the Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit (SSpS), SNAF gathered 33 lay leaders and parish workers to discern on the human roots of the ecological crisis and to instigate actions under the Catholic Social Teaching principle of subsidiarity–which directs the faithful to address challenges “at the lowest possible, but highest necessary level, of society needed to protect and promote the common good.”
In response, the participants adopted key action steps, such as promotion of renewable energy, waste segregation, and tree-growing. In particular, they committed to household self-sufficiency by planting vegetables and fruit-bearing trees in their own backyard. They also identified collective action, such as mass tree-planting initiatives at the surrounding vacant lot of the parish and the SSpS convent.
The participants were hopeful that these small steps will lead to greater strides in compelling policy-makers to join the Church in heeding “the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor” thru “radical response” to the ecological crisis.
SNAF facilitator Dennis Abarientos emphasized that the call of the Papal Encyclical for ecological conversion has become even more relevant today as he noted the human activities that generate climate change and biodiversity loss are the same stimulants of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
“If we are to respond better to the next pandemic, we must work harder to reject the use of fossil fuel and other practices which fuel global warming that drives climatic changes that foster environment for proliferation of infectious diseases”, he concluded