The climate change phenomenon has found its way into the lintels of the church doors. Understandably so! Church members do not live in isolation but are part of the society which God has entrusted them to take care of. The month of September up to the 4th October, is a season for the commemoration of one of the Catholic Church’s Saints, Saint Francis of Assisi. As part of the commemoration, the Church celebrates nature/creation.
The recently ordained Bishop of the Francistown Diocese, Right Reverend Bishop Anthony Rebello wrote a letter to all Parishes under his jurisdiction urging them to emulate Pope Francis by celebrating nature.
“This is the right time for the universal Church of all nations to pray and care for nature. Time has arrived for us to introspect and find how we live with our environment and ask ourselves whether we love it, care for it or we are not concerned. These days there are clear signs that humanity does not care for the environment as we hear of land degradation, floods and veldt fires that ravage other countries,” reads the letter in part.
The letter titled ‘Season of nature’ further highlights that in Botswana, there are signs of climate change-excessive heat, hunger, droughts and insufficient rainfalls.
“We cannot deny that as humanity we contribute in these by not taking care of our environment. We destruct it by dumping waste everywhere. By so doing we kill and suffocate fish and other marine animals. Therefore we should as soon as possible improve our relationship with the environment and other animals and ensure we raise our love for them. As the Pope says let us raise our knowledge of the fact that we are one family and should live as such,” he said.
The letter further emphasises that through the invitation of the Pope, some dioceses are preparing to commemorate the season of nature while others are getting prepared. He personally appealed to parishes and individual congregants to do all within their powers to show love to the environment. He reminded congregants to remember the responsibility bestowed upon the first parents; Adam and Eve of caring for the Garden of Eden and not to ill-treat it (Gen.2: 15).
Some of the suggested projects for implementation to heed the Pope’s call are: Recycling of plastics, utilization of solar power instead of fossil fuels, safe use of electricity and water as well as to plant more trees.
The St Bridget parish of Tonota resolved to plant trees under the theme; ‘Plant tree for a child/help a child to plant a tree’. The Parish Priest, Anthony Kornu emphasized the fact that parents should teach their children and grandchildren the importance of tree planting at a tender age. The parish resolved also, to have inspection; within agreed time frame of 12 months to ensure parents have done so at their homes. Sodalities have also been assigned to plant trees within the Church compound.