Archdiocese of Cebu to organise climate emergency conference

The meeting is set for 31 January-1 February. Participants will include people from 160 different parishes, the private sector and policy experts who will work to develop recommendations and solutions. The event is a key part of the celebrations of 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines.

Cebu City (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Archdiocese of Cebu, in the eponymous province in the Visayas Islands, is heeding Pope Francis’s call for action to fight climate change.

On 31 January-1 February, local Catholics will take part in the first archdiocesan conference on the climate emergency.

People from 160 different parishes, representatives of the private sector and policy experts will try to develop recommendations and solutions to the most pressing environmental issues.

This morning, the local archbishop, Mgr Jose Serofia Palma, held a press conference (pictured) in which he reiterated that the protection of Creation has become a priority for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

"Allow me to inform you, even in the CBCP, [that] much of our gathering has been focused on what we can do to respond to the many forms of [environmental] degradation,” Palma said.

The meeting will also look at the “ways our environment had been destroyed by natural disasters like volcanic eruptions, typhoons, earthquakes, floods and [at] what we can do from the perspective of faith.”

For Archbishop Palma, the climate emergency conference will be a key part of the celebrations for the fifth centennial of Christianity in the Philippines, which the local Church is preparing to celebrate next year.

“We must act together in the face of climate emergency,” he said. “This, to me, is a very important aspect of the preparations.”

The main activities related to the jubilee will take place in Cebu. The province is considered the "cradle of Christianity" in the country.

When Spanish missionaries arrived in 1521, the first baptism took place on Cebu island and the native population received the icon of the Santo Niño (the Baby Jesus).

The archbishop hopes that the devotees of Santo Niño will show as much passion for the protection of Creation as they do for the icon.

In his Sunday homily on 19 January, Mgr Palma said that "A true believer Santo Niño loves the environment.”