In solidarity and in response to the call to care for our common home, the UST Simbahayan Community Development Office (SIMBAHAYAN), in collaboration with the Office of the Vice-Rector for Religious Affairs (OVRRA), AlerTomas Cluster, and National Service Training Program (NSTP), Dominican Family for Justice, Peace, and Care for Creation-Philippines (DFJPCC-Phils.), and Fellowship for the Care of Creation Association, Inc. (FCCAI), virtually opened the Season of Creation at UST on September 5, 2022.
“Listen to the Voice of Creation (Makinig sa Tinig ng Sangnilikha)” is the theme for this year’s celebration of the Season of Creation (Panahon ng Paglikha). As defined by the Season of Creation Organization, it “is the annual Christian celebration to listen and respond together to the cry of Creation: the ecumenical family around the world unites to pray and protect our common home, the Oikos of God.” It was in 2015 when Pope Francis first declared September 1, World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, as the start of the Season of Creation. This year, the Season ended on October 4 which coincides with the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and environment.
Rev. Fr. Victor Calvo, O.P., the Promoter for Justice and Peace for the Province and for the Asia Pacific, delivered the opening remarks.
During the talk, Rev. Fr. Cris Pine, O.F.M., highlighted the worsening condition of the environment, which is validated by the report of scientists from the World Meteorological Organization and the various natural hazards currently experienced in different parts of the world. As Earth’s keepers, humans should be caretaking for nature and respecting the symbiotic relationship because it is God’s instrument of salvation. He ended his talk with a quote from Pope Francis, “Many things have to change course, but it is we human beings above all who need to change.”
Furthermore, representatives from the Save Sierra Madre Network Alliance, Inc., stressed the importance of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range to them as Agta-Dumagat-Remontado. Their discussion tackled the adverse effects of the construction of Kaliwa Dam. Negative effects in biodiversity will critically affect the communal and sacred ancestral lands, as well as migratory fish. It could also weaken the protective barrier of Luzon against tropical cyclones, just to name a few.
Ms. Joan Castor of NSTP (CWTS/LTS), as the third speaker, presented their initiative with NSTP students and FCCAI. The students were engaged in planting trees, formulating organic pesticides and fertilizers, and urban gardening. These showed that even simple acts have a long-term impact on the environment.
Aside from the talks, BA Sociology student Ms. Joan Evangelista, College of Science faculty member Mr. Elfritzson M. Peralta, and the Center for Campus Ministry Director Assoc. Prof. Ma. Sanita A. Quilatan, Ph.D., shared their reactions and personal endeavors to commit to a more eco-friendly lifestyle. This was followed by the invitation of AlerTomas Cluster Head Asst. Prof. Juliano S. Pereña, Jr. and Mr. John Din of the Laudato Si’ Movement Pilipinas for their separate upcoming activities.