Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Card Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai, wants Catholics to go 'green' this Lent. Calling on the faithful to go on a 'carbon fast' to reduce pollution, protect the environment and create a more sustainable world, he told AsiaNews that Lent also provides an opportunity to help people "rediscover a different relationship to God, creation and each other."
Kicking off on Ash Wednesday, his plan will continue throughout Lent. As part of it, every day, the archdiocese will suggest a way to reduce one's carbon print through the short- and long-term activities.
"Carbon fasting," the cardinal said, "comes as a response to Pope Francis' call to "protect creation", which the Holy Father made at the start of his pontificate.
For the cardinal, "As a vocation, being stewards of creation is not strictly Christian. It comes before this; it is simply something human because it affects everyone. It is about protecting all of creation, about the beauty of creation, as the Book of Genesis puts it, and as Saint Francis showed us. It is about respect for each and every one of God's creatures and for the environment in which we live. "
In Mumbai, this is a major issue. In recent years, the city has experienced intense urban development at the expense of the environment.
"Ash Wednesday is the start of Lent," the prelate told AsiaNews. This is "a time in the Church calendar in which we acknowledge our own mortality, our own limitations and our own vulnerability". It is a time when "we can be transformed and become the new life that God has urged us to be."
Speaking to AsiaNews, Fr Allwyn D'Silva, from the Mumbai Archdiocesan Office for Environment, explained how carbon fasting can be done.
"We will make various suggestions each day, concerning the simplest tasks, like how to limit power use and recycle, to moderately difficult ones, such as washing with cold water and driving more slowly. We shall also propose long-term steps, like buying local products and growing vegetable gardens for our community."