ast January, Filipinos observed two major yearly celebrations: the Feast of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila and the Santo Niño Feast in Cebu, Aklan and other parts of the Philippines. Millions of faithful flocked to these two events and much time and energy was spent by our people in showing their devotion to Jesus as the Nazarene and the Santo Niño (Holy Child). However, the piles of garbage left after the Traslación procession are not at all reflective of piety. As the adage goes, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” Perhaps it’s time to review our devotions. Are they leading us to true communion with God or helping us in the development of our nation? We can start by promoting the spirit of communion and dialogue on different levels. First, a communion of goods… Like the first Christian community, we can share our surplus and the things we don’t really need with the poor around us. We can channel this communion through organizations already helping the poor like Caritas, Gawad Kalinga, the Focolare’s Bukas Palad Social Centers and other credible NGOs, and through the government’s Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Second, communion with God’s creation or the natural environment. We can start with simple waste segregation at home, planting more trees, cleaning up of esteros, rivers, and most importantly, living a simple lifestyle and getting rid of the consumer mindset by eating healthy food and reducing the use of plastic. As a community, we can lobby for environmental causes. Read more

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