09 Marching Ahead - Bp Allwyn D’Silva & Shawna Nemesia Rebello

posted Apr 4, 2019, 9:50 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 4, 2019, 9:51 AM ]
The theme of Pope Francis' Lenten message this year is a biblical verse from St Paul's letter to the Romans: "For Creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God". The Holy Father states that the children of God will be revealed through a conversion that involves going forth from bondage and decay to glorious liberty. All of Creation is called to this conversion; it is not limited to human beings alone. True conversion is not easy, entailing travail that we must decisively engage in. But through conversion, we will be enabled to rediscover the joy of God's plan for Creation and for each of us. We are to love God, our brothers and sisters, and the entire world, and to find in this love our true happiness. However, sin has ruptured our communion with God, and undermines our harmonious relationship with the environment. God's law of love is then forsaken for insatiable covetousness which, sooner or later, destroys all those in its grip.

The Archdiocese of Bombay is attempting to mend our relationship with Creation and the environment, and our communion with God through the Green Diocese Initiative. Noting that responding to the ecological crisis forms an integral part of the Church's mission, the Archbishop of Bombay, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, launched this initiative on September 1,2018. He appointed Bishop Allwyn D'Silva as his delegate for the process of greening the diocese, and the Archdiocesan Office for Environment as the nodal point to animate our efforts. Several activities and events are taking place as a result, with parishes, schools and other groups stepping forward to care for Creation.

Talks on greening have been given to various groups including seminarians, the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, the Priests' Council, and during meetings of Thane, North Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Central Suburbs and Bandra deaneries. Talks have also been conducted for members of the Social Apostolate, the Office for Lay Collaboration in Ministry, the Catholic Lawyers Guild, etc. Schools are having environment-themed exhibitions, an example being one put up by St Sebastian Goan High School, Dabul on "Care for the Earth – Go Green" in December 2018. Last month, a botanical garden was inaugurated at St Anne School in Malad. A Creation Chapel in the parish of Our Lady of the Sea, Uttan was blessed in January this year.