By Br. Roberto S. Castellano Jr.,OP
Nowadays, our Church and society are bombarded with the different socio-political issues that arise from cases of poverty, injustice, violence, and degradation of environment. It is fitting and timely for several sectors of our Church and society to once again gather, discuss, reflect and collaborate on the possible solutions to alleviate the conditions of our brothers and sisters on the margin. The Seminar Workshop conducted by Fr. Michael Deeb, OP (Permanent Del-gate of the Dominicans to the United Nations) was assisted by Ms. Laurence Blattmer who used to serve as the Program Coordinator of Justice, Peace and Care for Creation in the United Nations. It was held at Most Holy Rosary Prayer and Reflection Center, Calumpang ,Iloilo City. The said seminar-workshop was graced by 30 participants comprising of different representatives civil, educational and ecclesiastical sectors involved in the ministry of justice, peace and care for creation. The seminar-workshop was from August 26-30, 2019. It was spearheaded by Fr. Victor Calvo Jr., OP, the Dominican Province of the Philippines Promoter for the Justice, Peace and Care for Creation.
The participants were graciously welcomed by Sr. Nemia Daral, OP, Superior General of the Dominican Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary of the Philippines (Molo Sisters). The participants appreciated very well the hospitality of the staff of the Reflection Center who attended to their needs during the entire session of the seminar workshop.
During the first day of the seminary-workshop, Fr. Mike Deeb, OP, discussed the history of the United Nations Council of Justice, Peace and Care for Creation and its relation to the same ministry handled by the Dominicans as an integral part of proclaiming the gospel for the least, last and lost. In the process, Fr. Deeb and Ms. Blattmer also allowed each participant to briefly share their active involvement in the justice, peace and care for creation advocacies that they are involved in. The second day of the seminar workshop allowed the grouped participants to clearly identify specific issues and cases of justice, peace and care for creation realities in the different parts of the Philippines. The identification of these specific issues was later on connected by the speakers on how the UN System conducts its ministry on justice, peace and care for creation. The highlight of the second day centered on the UN System Programs on Protection of Human Rights and how such can be applied to Philippine setting.
The third day of the seminar workshop directed the grouped participants to present the three major identified issues such as Human Rights, Labor Relations and Care for Environment. They were given ample time to do action plans that will address issues on human rights, labor relations and environment protection in the Philippine context. The last day of the seminar was spent in the presentations of the action plans on the previously mentioned three major issues. The entire seminar workshop on justice, peace and care for creation emboldened the participants to face the impending present pressing needs of the Church and society in handling various ministries related to their respective advocacies.