Wanted: ‘Ecology volunteers’ for Black Nazarene feast

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Korean priest Ji Young Hong encourages Filipino Catholics to keep on trying to help keep surroundings clean during the upcoming Black Nazarene feast just like Catholic Koreans did during Pope Francis' visit to their country in 2014 for the Asian Youth Day. (Photo: Fr. Ji Young Hong)

MANILA, Jan. 7, 2017 – The Archdiocese of Manila, through the Ministry on Ecology, is calling for volunteers to help in its “Zero Waste” program during the celebration of the Feast of the Black Nazarene.

“We need to instill among the devotees the awareness that caring and concern for God’s creation are integral to their devotion to ‘Nuestro Padre Nazareno’,” said Archdiocesan ecology program coordinator Lou Valencia Arsenio.

“One concrete objective is to set up a waste management system whereby at least 75% of trash in the Luneta and Quiapo grounds are properly collected, segregated, and processed with the assistance of volunteers and the employment – to help in their livelihood – of at least 100 jobless and homeless from the Luneta and Santa Cruz areas,” she added.

More volunteers needed

“For this, we appeal for more volunteers to help direct the devotees to responsibly manage their trash during the Quiapo fiesta as a sign of their true devotion and love for the Black Nazarene,” declared Arsenio.

People who want to volunteer for the Quiapo fiesta may contact the Archdiocesan Ministry on Ecology by replying to Arsenio’s post on her Facebook page ‘Lou Arsenio’.

“The Command post in Luneta is in front of the Kalaw side gate of H2O Hotel. Free food and water will be provided,” she disclosed.

Personal responsibility

The Archdiocesan Ministry on Ecology also reminded every devotee to be personally responsible for the cleanliness of his surroundings during the fiesta.

“As a manifestation of true devotion and love for the Black Nazarene, each one has to be an example of care [for] God’s own creation,” said Arsenio.

According to her, there will be proper places for disposing garbage as well as uniformed volunteers with IDs who will roam around with black plastic bags to collect garbage.

“There is no reason for anyone to litter in Luneta or Quiapo,” stressed Arsenio.

‘Filipinos can do it’

As a note of encouragement Korean priest Ji Young Hong, who is in the Philippines for a few days for a seminar, shared his country’s experience during Pope Francis’ visit to Korea in 2014 for the 6th Asian Youth Day and the beatification of 124 Korean martyrs.

“The papal visit represented a challenge to the Catholic Church in its role in pursuing authentic human development; for this, we were made aware by our leaders to give a good example to the rest of the people in Korea as well as in Asia,” explained the priest.

“In every gathering with the Pope, especially as he led the beatification ceremony before a crowd that filled the huge city square in central Seoul, every participant made sure to keep his own trash and to pick whatever litter was found in his sector,” recalled Hong.

“You, Filipinos, can do it! Just keep on trying,” the priest encouraged his fellow Catholics.

Up to 18 million participants are expected to take part in this year’s procession of the Black Nazarene on Jan. 9. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas / CBCP News)

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