Fr. John Leydon, chairman of Global Catholic Climate Movement - Pilipinas, delivers his homily during a Mass at the Santisimo Rosario Parish Church celebrated for the Save Sierra Madre Day and feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology. (Screenshot from UST's livestream)

ENVIRONMENTAL advocates appealed for the protection and preservation of the Sierra Madre mountain range to protect Luzon from strong typhoons, during an event spearheaded by the UST Simbahayan Community Development Office on Oct. 4.

Fr. John Leydon, chairman of Global Catholic Climate Movement – Pilipinas, emphasized how the Sierra Madre protected Luzon during Severe Tropical Storm “Karding.”

“Last week, nakita natin ‘yung ebidensya kung gaano kahalaga ‘yung Sierra Madre sa ating safety dito sa Luzon sa Typhoon Karding,” Leydon said in his homily delivered on the feast day of St. Francis of Assissi, the patron saint of ecology.

At the height of Karding’s onslaught, Signal No. 5 was raised in several parts of Luzon. The storm signal is raised when winds greater than 220 kilometers per hour, wave heights of more than 14 meters, and storm surges of more than three meters in coastal areas are expected.

Karding killed 12 people and caused more than P300 million in infrastructure damage and more than P3 billion in farm damage.

But the damage could have been worse if it weren’t for the windbreaks of the Sierra Madre, Leydon said.

Leydon reminded Catholics to participate in environmental conservation as a way to show love for God’s creation.

“Itong pagaalay ng buhay ni Sierra ay nagpapaalala sa ating mga Kristiyano kung sino ang ating Diyos na nagkatawang tao at nag-alay ng kanyang sarili upang tayo ay magkaroon ng buhay,” he said.

Simbahayan held the “Ikalawang Paglalakbay ng Krus ng Sierra Madre” with the theme, “Buhay ng Sierra Madre, Buhay Nating Lahat: Dinggin ang Tinig ng Sierra Madre, panumbalikin ang Kanyang Buhay” on Oct. 4.

It was supposed to be held on Sept. 26, the Save Sierra Madre Day, but the event was postponed due to the typhoon.

The event also saw the visit of the “Krus ng Sierra Madre.” The wooden cross, forged from three driftwoods found in Sierra Madre, is set to visit dioceses across the country to urge Filipinos to care for creation.

“Kailangan gisingin ang ating pagmamahal para [sa] mga nilikha ng Diyos, hindi sapat ‘yung utak,” Leydon said.

Several environmental groups joined in the event, including representatives from the Save Sierra Madre Network Alliance Inc. and Save Zambales Kalikasan Movement. A.M.C. Cruz


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