The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. (Dr.) Alfred Martins has urged Catholics in the Archdiocese to be conscious of their environment, as well as have attitudinal change in disposing waste materials, so as to conserve the earth. This was revealed during a virtual interaction of representatives of Lay organisations, including Catholic Women Organisation of Nigeria Lagos Archdiocese (CWONLA) tagged, “Be ecologically converted and respond to the cry of the earth and of the poor”, facilitated by Dame Marie Fatayi-Williams, an ardent crusader of the Laudato si campaign in the Archdiocese of Lagos.
Explaining how Laudato Si came about to answer the call by Pope Francis on the issue of the creation, environment, and human existence, Dame Fatayi-Williams said that the Pope has shown concern on the change on ecological decay, caused by human attitude, which has brought about the issue of climate change in the world. She further said that the Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. (Dr.) Alfred Martins has mandated Laudato si to educate all Catholics in the Archdiocese on greater awareness of environmental problems in order to domesticate the pope’s concern for the earth. According to her, the Archbishop has called on the religious, as well as the lay faithful to be involved in self-conversion and self-consciousness of their immediate environment. She said, “We have to be change totally from our former attitude to the environment.
A situation of how we dispose our waste by littering the floor, throwing water satchet everywhere recklessly. Dame Fatayi-Williams further said that the Pope demands that the people should not only pray, but should also engage in taking care of the earth and it’s environment, which is God’s creation. She encouraged the lay faithful in the Archdiocese to be in tune with the environment with a view to consciously protect it.
“For example, when you cut down any tree, one should ensure they plant another tree. That as we nurture our spiritual well being of life, we should as well nurture the environment. That when we notice people cutting down trees where we reside, we should raise alarm to the authority. We should fight for the right of replacement of trees as the trees help us to take in fresh air”, she said. Also speaking on the occasion, the President of CWONLA, Barr. (Mrs.) P. N. Omorodion said that the brainstorming session by the women lay group leaders was fostered by the zeal with which Archbishop Martins is driving the course of Laudato si in the Archdiocese of Lagos.
She further said that they are in constant communication with the curia and team of consultors to ensure that even the clergy and religious are not left out. Emphasizing that the care of creation is not just a social work nor an agitation, but a must-do for all Catholics as commanded by God and heralded by the Church, the group noted that Archbishop Martins is committed to ensuring that priests, religious and lay faithful embrace the culture of regard for the eco-system. It will be recalled that Archbishop Martins had earlier flagged off a team of young people, which include students, to be ambassadors of a safe environment in the archdiocese.
Obviously, technology has succeeded in objectifying man, especially in the face of the ravaging covid-19 pandemic. The church, through this event, continues to propagate need to avoid wasteful actions, either in terms of diet or material items. For the Chief Shepherd, the spirituality and education of catholic faithful in the Archdiocese of Lagos must grow in consonance with the intention for creation.
Hence, the continuous engagement of lay groups irrespective of age. Archbishop Martins continues to encourage faithful to imbibe the ‘circular habits’ of using-re using-conserving-recycling as being exemplified by the Holy Father, Pope Francis in Laudato si. Following unfolding events, the Archdiocese of Lagos, the Laudato si ‘gospel’ will be enshrined in the curriculum of mission schools, catechism and marriage classes.
In a latest development, Archbishop Martins advised government and individuals to shun destruction of the environment because of development. He added that Catholics in Lagos should begin the planting of trees toward realizing a more friendly environment.