The Catholic Church in Goa, India, has asked Catholics to avoid using non-biodegradable substances in their decorations of graves for All Souls Day. Priests and pastors were also urged to preach throughout the month of November against the use of toxic materials in all celebrations and functions of the churches.
The request came through Caritas and the Council for Social Justice and Peace, and is intended to advance Pope Francis’s call for lifestyle changes that will protect the environment.
The Times of India reports that this call followed closely after a pastoral letter from Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao, who urged all Catholics in his diocese to reduce waste. The article quotes the letter from Caritas and places it in context of the Pope’s teaching:
“Soon, we will have All Souls’ Day, when we decorate graves where bundles of plastics, thermocol, foam, and silver foil will be used. All of which is non-degradable and toxic,” director of Caritas, Fr Maverick Fernandes, said in the letter. “Hence, let us strongly urge our parishioners to avoid the use of the toxic material to decorate the graves.”
Pope Francis, in his 2015 encyclical letter ‘Laudato Si’, called on Christians to urgently introduce lifestyle changes to help save the earth.“It is time for us to collectively lead the country in reducing waste through our lifestyle changes, that is, for the sustenance of the Earth,” executive secretary Fr Savio Fernandes said through the letter.“We can really make a significant difference if we seriously avoid the use of toxic materials for our celebrations,” the letter says.