FACULTY and administrators of Ateneo de Iloilo-SMCS got a taste of the latest encyclical of Pope Francis on the “Care for our Common Home” in a talk held Thursday afternoon, August 20, at the school’s Audiovisual Room.
Facilitated in by Agnes Gatpatan of the school’s Campus Ministry and Social Involvement (CMSI) office, the 40 Atenean teacher-formators flicked through the “Laudato Si” document that generally speaks of the pontiff’s call on the “preservation of the environment and the dignity of the poor.”
The discourse was carved up in three segments. The first one was the playing of the three episode-talk of Luis Cardinal Antonio Luis Tagle on the pope’s official letter to the Catholic faithfuls covering all the six chapters that the Vatican manuscript contains. The 187-page encyclical was then condensed by Gatpatan in the context of the participants as formators of the school, followed by a short open forum.
Latin “Laudato Si,” literally “Praise be to you,” is taken from the invocation of St. Francis of Assisi in his “Canticle of the Creatures.” It reminds everyone that the earth, our “common home,” is “like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens his arms to embrace us.”
It was said to be a fitting “Laudato Si” dialogue since the school is currently fortifying its zero-waste management and Blue Spoon Feeding outreach drives. This is also in response to the continued call of the Order of the Jesuits to all its mission schools and institutions—Ateneo de Iloilo and Santa Maria Parish in Iloilo included—to focus on concrete and more inclusive efforts to preserve Mother Earth.
Similar talk was also held the day before, August 19, by the faculty and staff of ADI-SMCS Grade School Department in the school’s Grade School and Central Administration site in Gen. Blanco St., Iloilo City.
To note, the encyclical starts by presenting the current situation based on the best scientific findings available today: pollution and climate change, issue on water, loss of biodiversity, decline in the quality of human life and the breakdown of society. This is followed by a review of the Bible and Judeo-Christian tradition. The root of the problems in technocracy and in an excessive self-centeredness of human being are also analyzed.
The papal document then proposes an “integral ecology, which clearly respects its human and social dimensions,” inextricably linked to the environment question. In this perspective, Pope Francis, who is also both a scientist and a Jesuit, proposes to initiate an honest dialogue at every level of social, economic, and political life; that builds transparent decision-making processes. Recalling that no project can be effective if it is not animated by a formed and responsible conscience, ideas are put forth to aid growth in this direction at the educational, spiritual, ecclesial, political, and theological levels.
The text ends with two prayers; one offered for sharing with everyone who believes in “God who is the all-powerful Creator,” and the other to those who profess faith in Jesus Christ, punctuated by the refrain “Praise be to you!” which opens and closes the Holy Father’s encyclical. (Herman Lagon/Magis)