Walking by faith

Filipino climate activist Yeb Saño kicks off the global “People’s Pilgrimage,” calling attention to the need for climate action

“So we are always courageous, although we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, or we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:6-7

When St. Paul wrote these words, he sought to comfort the church in Corinth about concerns over life and death. Twenty centuries later and just under 10,000 kilometers away, Yeb Saño, the young Filipino diplomat turned climate activist, seeks to comfort a great many worried about climate change by following St. Paul’s words: He is walking by faith.

And in time, so will a great many more, of many faiths.

The People’s Pilgrimage is a global grassroots effort to encourage religious pilgrimages calling attention to climate change. The events are being championed by Our Voices, and international, interfaith group seeking to provide a platform for all peoples to speak out about climate change.

The pilgrimages will involve thousands worldwide who “will set out on journeys, big and small, to visit the places at the heart of the climate crisis,” according to Our Voices. Globally, the pilgrims will walk “to places of hope and resistance, but also to places at risk or already suffering the consequences of a less stable planet.”

Saño began the inaugural pilgrimage on Sunday in his home of Tacloban, an area of the Philippines hit hard in 2013 by Super Typhoon Haiyan. Earlier this year, Pope Francis visiited Tacloban during his trip the the Philippines. Saño began at Sto. Niño Church, which was itself badly damaged by Haiyan. Today the church remains a symbol of the deep Catholic faith and resilience of the people of the Philippines.

"The People’s Pilgrimage offers all of us, of every faith, the opportunity to join in and be part of a global journey for climate justice,” said Ciara Shannon, Asia Coordinator for Our Voices Asia and founding member of the Global Catholic Climate Network. “Every step we take reminds us of the importance of overcoming climate change challenges, while celebrating the amazing solutions to a global low-carbon transformation."

Our Voices expects a growing number of pilgrimages to be planned and walked over the next six months as world attention focuses on international climate talks in Paris this December.

Learn more here about the People’s Pilgrimage—especially how to join a pilgrimage that's already organized, or to organize your own. And if you can’t join a pilgrimage, pray for those taking part. And pray for all those who can impact the world’s response to climate change.

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Catholic Ecology posts my regular column in the Rhode Island Catholic, as well as scientific and theological commentary about the latest eco-news, both within and outside of the Catholic Church. What is contained herein is but one person's attempt to teach and defend the Church's teachings - ecological and otherwise. As such, I offer all contents of this blog for approval of the bishops of the Church. It is my hope that nothing herein will lead anyone astray from truth.