The Philippine Augustinians successfully launched its Laudato-Si’ campaign on September 1, 2021 in time for the opening of the Season of Creation and World Day of Prayer.
The launching started with a Holy Mass held at the Pilgrim Center of the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu. The Mass was presided over by Fr. John Ion Miranda, OSA, Executive Director of the Santo Niño de Cebu Augustinian Social Development Foundation, Inc. (SNAF), the campaign secretariat and social development arm of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Philippine Augustinians.
Before the final blessing, Fr. Miranda, OSA blessed seedlings of endemic hardwood and fruit-bearing trees to be grown on September 9, 2021 in nearby Augustinian communities to symbolize the process of reconciliation with the rest of Creation, especially in these times of disasters and pandemic.
After the mass was a webinar themed, “Our Planet, Our Responsibility: Localizing the UN SDGs towards the Care of Creation.”
In 2015, the United Nations set its Strategic Development Goals (SDGs) as pathways for sustainable development and ecological protection. This document converged with the ecological encyclical Laudato Si issued in the same year by Pope Francis to address the human roots of the ecological crisis.
The webinar tackled the Cebu City ordinance that sought to create the “Cebu City UN SDG Council”. It was discussed by Councilor Alvin Dizon who authored the said ordinance.
“The realization of UN Sustainable Development Goals starts with us. In our homes, in our respective organizations, we can begin transforming the world,” Dizon said.
Afterwards, various organizations from the academe, church, legal community, and civil society shared their local concerns, issues and activities.
The webinar also premiered the video presentation of SNAF on its responses to the worsening environmental degradation.
The webinar was endorsed at the onset by Fr. Andres D. Rivera, Jr., Prior Provincial of the Philippine Augustinians, and Fr. Murphy Sarsonas, Chairperson of the Cebu Archdiocesan Commission on Environmental concerns.
The webinar concluded with a community prayer led by Sr. Virginia Ligaray, RVM. /with PR from SNAF