Black Nazarene Devotees as Stewards of God’s Creation

Manila. An environmental advocacy group today reiterated its plea for ecological responsibility as the police authorities projected a huge turnout of devotees tomorrow for the feast of the Black Nazarene.

The EcoWaste Coalition made its last-minute pitch for a clean and safe celebration after the chief of the Manila Police District Rodolfo Magtibay estimated a mammoth-crowd of 3.5 million devotees joining the procession to carry out their religious vows.

“We hope that the Black Nazarene celebration this year will be remembered for the united effort of the devotees to take care of the surroundings, and not for the massive surge in litter in the streets of Manila,” said Manny Calonzo, President, EcoWaste Coalition.

“We call on all the devotees to break new ground in the ecological expression of our faith that can serve as a great inspiration for the whole nation,” he said.

“An eco-friendly affirmation of our faith to the Black Nazarene is very much in line with the theme of the celebration this year,” he added.

“Tunay na deboto, matuwid at masunuring katiwala ng Poong Hesus Nazareno” is the theme of the 403rd celebration of the “Traslacion” or the transfer of the revered image of the Black Nazarene from Recoletos Church in Intramuros to the present Quiapo Church.

“As ‘katiwala’ or ‘steward’ of God’s creation, we hope that the devotees will seek to honor and glorify the Black Nazarene in a worshipful instead of wasteful manner,” Calonzo said.

“As caretakers of Mother Earth, let us celebrate our faith without causing further stress and degradation to our fragile environment,” he further said.

To cut wasting at the Quiapo fiesta, the EcoWaste Coalition exhorted the devotees to bear in mind the four basic steps outlined by the late Jaime Cardinal Sin for a “zero waste celebration of life.”

These are: 1) minimize the creation of waste by using as few resources as possible at the various events, 2) avoid using plastic and disposable items, 3) separate discards into biodegradable and non-biodegradable, and 4) put them into their proper containers to facilitate recycling and make the work of the cleaners and collectors simpler.

Meanwhile, the EcoWaste Coalition expressed hope that the voters’ education to be conducted for the Black Nazarene devotees at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta tonight will also touch on citizens’ responsibility to care and protect the environment in the May 2010 polls.