CREATION DAY AND CREATION TIME
A Pastoral Statement of the CBCP Permanent Council
1. Today, September 1, in many parts of the world Christian
churches are celebrating "Creation Day." They have
also set the period from this day to October 4 (the Feastday
of St. Francis of Assisi) or the Sunday after October 4 as "Creation
Time." We wish to introduce this period to our Catholic
faithful and acknowledge "Creation", that priceless
gift of the Almighty and Loving Creator who has made us into
his own image and likeness.
2. Inour landmark Pastoral Letter on Ecology, "What
is Happening to Our Beautiful Land" (January 29, 1998),
we said: “At this point in the history of our country
it is crucial that people motivated by religious faith develop
a deep appreciation for the fragility of our islands’ life-systems
andtake steps to defend the Earth. It is
a matter of life and death” (see Pastoral letters,
1945 - 1995, p. 664). This is why today we thank the many
Christian churches that celebrate Creation Day and Creation
Time, in order to offer “prayers andsupplications
to the Maker of all, both as thanksgiving for the great gift
of creation and as petition for its Protection and salvation” (Ecumenical
Patriarch Dimitrios I of Constantinople; it was his call
in 1999 that set off hisecumenical celebration).
3. Our pastoral letter of 1988 reminded us of our responsibility
to preserve and promote the integrity of creation in the
face of the planetary ecological crisis. The life of God’s
creation is “the ultimate pro-life issue”. We
have been made “stewards” of this divine creation.
We know that all humanity continues to fall in this regard
as ecological destruction and degradation continues without
abating. Since the publication of our pastoral letter many
places in our country have been hithard
by flashfloods causing great destruction to human lives and
property. Such destruction is attributable to wanton deforestation.
Even today mining explorations and inadequately tested agricultural
and seed technology involving genetically modified organisms
could pose new threats to the environment and to humanlives.
4. Therefore, the Church calls us to conversion regarding
ecological concerns. In order to undergo this conversion,
individual dioceses, parishes, basic ecclesial communities,
schools, religious congregations and various other church
and church related groups have initiated over the last several
years various ecological education programs, environmental
protection activities, and sustainable development projects.
We welcome ecumenical initiatives in ecological advocacy
in order to preserve and promote God’s irreplaceable
gift of Creation.
5. During this special period of “Creation Time” we
urge as we have done in our 1988 pastoral letter that “our
different liturgies celebrate the beauty and pain of our
world, our connectedness to the natural world and the on-going
struggle for social justice” (Ibid.,p. 672).
We also urge once again the setting up of a Care of the Earth
ministryat every level of Church organization.
We strongly remind our government not to pursue short-term
economic gains at the expense long-term ecological damage.
6. As we celebrate Creation Time, let us deepen our faith
inthe Triune God through our communal liturgies,
devotions, and in our personal prayer life. Let us celebrate
God the Father is the Creator, Jesus Christ as the Redeemer,
and the Holy Spirit as Sustainer of all life, human and nonhuman.
Let its “thankGod for the many ways
He has gifted our land” and ‘resolve to cherish
and protect what remains of this bounty for this and future
generations of Filipinos” (Ibid., p. 664).
May Mary, Mother of Life, protect us, bless and heal our
For the CBCP Permanent Council:
B. QUEVEDO, OMI, DD
Archbishop of Cotabato
President, Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines
September 1, 2003