‘Cleanliness is next to godliness’: Bishop laments trash left by Holy Week visitors at Antipolo Cathedral

Michael Joe Delizo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 21 2019 11:33 AM | Updated as of Apr 21 2019 11:34 AM

Trash were seen in popular piligrimage sites on Maundy Thursday as Filipino Catholics marked Lent. Ecowaste Coalition

Trash were seen in popular piligrimage sites on Maundy Thursday as Filipino Catholics marked Lent. Ecowaste Coalition

Trash were seen in popular piligrimage sites on Maundy Thursday as Filipino Catholics marked Lent. Ecowaste Coalition

Trash were seen in popular piligrimage sites on Maundy Thursday as Filipino Catholics marked Lent. Ecowaste Coalition

Trash were seen in popular piligrimage sites on Maundy Thursday as Filipino Catholics marked Lent. Ecowaste Coalition

ANTIPOLO, Rizal — A bishop on Sunday expressed dismay over the piles of trash left at a Cathedral here by millions of devotees who joined a traditional pilgrimage for Holy Week. 

Mounds of paper, plastic bags, bottles and leftover food littered the National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, also known as Antipolo Cathedral, after about 4 million people joined Maundy Thursday’s Alay Lakad procession. 

“Nagsakripisyo sila pero nagtatapon naman sila ng basura. Hindi pa nila nare-realize na bahagi ng pagsasakripisyo ay huwag nilang itapon ang basura nila kahit saang lugar,” Antipolo Bishop Francis De Leon told ABS-CBN News.

(They offered sacrifice but they littered. They do not realize yet that part of their sacrifice is not to dump their garbage anywhere.)

Some city personnel were assigned to clear the garbage immediately after the cathedral closed before dawn on Friday, said Relly Bernardo, chief of Antipolo City’s public information and disaster management offices. 

Some pilgrims also helped in the cleaning, he said. 

"Ang atin pong paulit-ulit na panawagan at paghamon sa mga deboto at pilgrims na maging responsableng mamamayan bilang pagpapakita ng sinasabing pagiging relihiyoso o maka-Diyos," Bernardo said.

"Dahil tayo po ay naniniwala na kaakibat ng pagiging maka-Diyos ang pagkakaroon ng malasakit sa ating kapwa at sa Inang Kalikasan," he added. 

(Our repeated call and challenge to devotees and pilgrims is to be responsible citizens as a way of showing godliness. We believe that being godly is also about showing concern to our neighbor and Mother Earth.)

Environmental group EcoWaste Coalition earlier lamented the rampant littering at popular pilgrimage sites as Catholics marked Lent.

The group said it has received reports that trails of garbage were also left behind at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in San Jose del Monte City and the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Marilao in Bulacan.

“We regret that our appeal for a garbage-free Holy Week remain unheeded as many devotees, without any sense of guilt or shame, left their discards anywhere,” said Aileen Lucero, national coordinator of the group.

“It’s apparent that many devotees have yet to appreciate the connection between the expression of our faith and our responsibility to take good care of our shared environment. Environmental apathy, sad to say, is still very prevalent.”