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Youth: Caretakers and Protectors of Nature

Emery E. Mwako     Aug 24, 2016 10:00:00 AM


It's time to react, “Young people demand change.”

That is our final feeling at the end of our Youth Summer Ecology Camp 2016. Four days in a row we were analyzing the theme “Kabataan: Kinaiyahan, Bantayan ug Ampingan” (Youth: Caretakers and Protectors of Nature).

We aimed at three goals: First, pastorally to help the young people to encounter and read Laudato Si, the Encyclical Letter of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, on care for our common home. Second, ecologically, to be aware of our day-to-day disorder against the ecosystem. And third, environmentally, to lead them to find their own solutions in order to transform and to keep safe our mother nature.

We are grateful to the team of Bukal ng Tipan who helped us with a process to achieve our goals. The process is made up of four steps.

The first path: Via Positiva

The first path called Via Positiva, led to re-discover how beautiful nature is by appreciating our own beauty. That is to say we have first to appreciate our beauty, our uniqueness, and our “being special” in order to see how God envisioned us (creature) to be good when he created us.

Furthermore, “Through the greatness and the beauty of creatures one comes to know by analogy their maker.” (Romans 1:20). Saint Francis taught us how to love and to appreciate other creatures as brothers and sisters (Laudato Si 11).

The second path: Via Negativa

The second path named Via Negativa consists of two parts. On the one hand, entering into our daily pain and tragedy of existence, to feel the pain of the world by our actions since its beginning. “(Yes) we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth up to the present time.” (Romans 8:22).

On the other hand, the Via Negativa is about “letting go.” Letting go our desire to control and to manipulate, to be “in charge‟ as masters of the universe. Letting go our pollution, our attitude of wasting things and our throw away culture (Laudato Si 20).

The third path: baptized Via Creativa

The third path baptized Via Creativa, helps to express wishes and dreams. Thus for, there is a certain future, hidden in today's happenings and waiting to be born, which future can happen only by us.

Therefore, our creativity is most needed. In other words, “Everyone’s talents and involvement are needed to redress the damage caused by human abuse of God's creation.” (Laudato Si 14). The youth responded to answer positively to the Pope’s call of a new and universal solidarity.

The last path: Via Transformativa

The last path termed Via Transformativa, brings the insights of compassion, justice and wisdom to bear upon our interpretation of the previous three paths, particularly of the idea of Via Creativa.

“Do we create or do we destroy?‟ This fourth path is concretely a “move‟ from being consumer to partaker, from observer to participant, from tourists to pilgrims, from masters to co-creators, and from doers to listeners.

It was also a time of tree-planting. Every participant has planted three or four trees at the courts and around the Tapnigue Elementary School (Mt Mayapay near Simbalan Parish).

Yes, young people demand change. “The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change.” (Laudato Si 13). And the change must start now, not tomorrow within us.

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Topics: Pastoral Work

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Missionhurst Missionaries build Catholic communities in frontier situations: places where the gospel is not preached or lived. This blog is about their work in the four corners of the globe, and their holistic work in four areas of focus: relief and healthcare, socio-economic development, education, and pastoral work.

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