Last August 2015, the Recoletos Eco-pilgrimage Park was inaugurated in Danao City, north of Cebu (Philippines). This is one of the first initiatives of this type in the Order, with the support of the Community of Augustinian Recollects of Cebu and the University of San Jose Recoletos.
One of the objectives of the ECOPARK is the development of the ecological training of the students of the University San Jose Recoletos: reforestation activities, cultivation of native species and in danger of extinction, etc. Since its inauguration, more than 2,000 fruit trees have already been planted and the objective is to plant 75,000 more until 2022, coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the founding of the University. All this, from the orientations and the impulse dl Pope Francisco with the encyclical ‘Laudato yes’.
The great impeller of this initiative since its inception has been Fr. Jaazeal Jakosalem, who participated in the XXI International Conference on Climate Change (COP21) held in Paris in 2015 and received a prize from Al Gore for his environmental commitment.
The inauguration of the ECOPARK coincided as an event of the Educational Year of the Order and its fruits were entrusted under the protection of Our Lady of Health, for it was the warning given to the first Recollects who arrived at the place in 1606.
But the ECOPARK is much more, because it is a place specially dedicated to the christian formation of the nearby communities, constituting also a space for reflection and prayer for anyone who wants to live an experience of interiority in the midst of nature.
The care of the Earth leads us to contemplation, “all creatures are advancing with us and through us towards a common point of arrival, which is God, in that transcendent fullness where the resurrected Christ embraces and enlightens all things. Intelligence and love, and drawn to the fullness of Christ, are called to lead all creatures back to their Creator. ” (Laudato Si # 83)
Caring for the Earth is to take care of the creation of God – which is nature, our common home. “Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home.” (New Beatitudes of Pope Francis)
A year ago, a pavilion was inaugurated that facilitates the convocation of children and young people of the place and the development of many of ECOPARK’s activities.
In this interview, Fr. Jaazeal presents ECOPARK together with one of the collaborators.