The Indian Archdiocese of Bombay has taken very much to heart the concern of the Catholic Church regarding the ecological crisis threatening the world, and is launching an initiative to make the Archdiocese a “Green Diocese”.
Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the Archbishop of Bombay recently issued a message announcing that the archdiocese’s “Green Diocese” initiative will be flagged off on September 1, World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.
Pope Francis who has made the environment a major concern of his pontificate, issued an encyclical, “Laudato Si” on the care of our common home, in June 2015. Later that year, he instituted September 1 as the Catholic Church’s World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, joining the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople that has been observing September 1 as the “Day of Protection for the Environment” since 1989.
“Both out of respect for God’s Creation and concern for those affected by its degradation, the ecological crisis becomes a moral issue for Catholics today,” wrote the Cardinal in his message released August 15, the solemn feast of the Assumption of Mary as well as India’s Independence Day.
The cardinal is inviting his faithful to respond generously to the call of Pope Francis by joining in the “Green Diocese” campaign, which he said “needs to be developed over a period of several years.” He has appointed Auxiliary Bishop Allwyn D’Silva to head the initiative through the Archdiocesan Office for Environment.
“I encourage all in the Archdiocese to wholeheartedly embrace this mission which the Lord is calling us to,” Cardinal Gracias urged.
Below is the full text of the message of Cardinal Oswald Gracias:
The Church, ever alert to the signs of the times, recognizes the ecological crisis as a major threat facing the world today. Responding to this crisis forms an integral part of the Church’s mission. Both out of respect for God’s Creation and concern for those affected by its degradation, the ecological crisis becomes a moral issue for Catholics today. In the Encyclical “Laudato Si”, Pope Francis invites the Church to plunge into this mission of caring for our common home.
I would like the Archdiocese of Bombay to respond generously to this invitation of the Holy Father. With this in mind, I am initiating a process by which the Archdiocese will become a ‘Green Diocese’. This is a long-term initiative that needs to be developed over a period of several years. It would include a comprehensive approach combining Spirituality and Education with conscientisation.
Since September 1 has been declared as the World Day of Prayer for Creation, it would be appropriate to launch our Green Diocese initiative on September 1, 2018. I am appointing Bishop Allwyn D’Silva to be my delegate in taking forward this initiative. The Archdiocesan Office for Environment at St Pius X College, Goregaon, will be the nodal point to animate our efforts, offering concrete suggestions for implementation.
I encourage all in the Archdiocese to wholeheartedly embrace this mission which the Lord is calling us to. As we work towards building up a Green Diocese, may our hearts open up to contemplate the gift of Creation, a gift that reveals the Holy Trinity and draws us ever deeper into its Divine Mystery. Our care of our common home is a part of our responsibility of enabling all generations to enjoy the fruit of God’s Creation, enriching the earth and protecting it from further harm. In this, we will collaborate with all men and women of good will. May God bless our efforts and God bless our Archdiocese.
August 15, 2018
Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
+Oswald Cardinal Gracias
Archbishop of Bombay
(Courtesy video & text: Archdiocese of Bombay Catholic Communication Center)