New bishop pledges an environment-focused ministry

Plastic bottles float on the heavily polluted San Juan River, a tributary of the Pasig River in Mandaluyong City, Philippines (CNS/Eloisa Lopez, Reuters)

A newly installed bishop in the Philippines has vowed to focus his ministry on the environment and urged Catholics to care for the earth as outlined by Pope Francis’s Laudato Si’ encyclical. Source: CNS.

Bishop Noel Pedregosa, 56, issued the call during a September 14 ceremony in which he was installed as the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Malaybalay in Bukidon province in southern Philippines, UCA News reported.

“My mission extends to the environment, as seen in my coat of arms as bishop of Malaybalay. One can see a tree rooted in greenery at the bottom of my coat of arms. It represents the strong ecological thrust of the entire Church, particularly in the context of Bukidnon, whose pastoral care was entrusted to me as bishop,” he said.

Bukidnon province is considered the food basket of the region as most residents are farmers growing rice and corn. The province also produces pineapples, bananas and sugarcane.

The new bishop said the church has “always been found on the front line of social and environmental issues such as open-pit mining, land-grabbing, unjust and abusive land use and illegal logging”.

“The agricultural motif likewise links my farming background and the role of San Isidro Labrador, the Diocesan patron saint in his life. I want to put the environment as one of the central issues of my advocacy as bishop,” he said.

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New bishop in Philippines pledges an environment-focused ministry (CNS

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