Sierra Madre cross continues journey vs loggingBy Delfin T. Mallari Jr.
Inquirer Southern Luzon
SARIAYA, Quezon—Since its arrival here on Aug. 20, the 7-foot “Krus ng Sierra Madre” has been making the rounds of parishes under the Diocese of Lucena.
On August 27, the icon would be in parishes under the Diocese of Gumaca in Quezon’s Lamon Bay area and part of Bondoc Peninsula.
Mass, special religious rites and a vigil would be performed in every stopover in the parishes.
“The Krus ng Sierra Madre is a reminder to us that we have to protect God’s creation. Destroying His creation is like disobeying our Creator,” said Fr. Romeo Padillo, Tiaong town parish priest, in his homily last August 20 after the arrival of the wooden cross in Sariaya from San Pablo City in Laguna.
Padillo was joined by at least 15 priests from Quezon and Laguna in a concelebrated Mass attended by Sariaya students, parishioners and environmentalists who filled the church.
Rosario de Guzman, who wiped her handkerchief on the cross during the Sariaya stop, said she will keep the handkerchief in the belief that it could protect her family from floods.
De Guzman lives in one of the villages at the foot of Mt. Banahaw, site of widespread rock quarry operations that were cited as one of the causes of flooding in the area.
A project of the Save Sierra Madre Network Alliance Inc. headed by Franciscan priest Fr. Pete Montallana, the pilgrimage of the Sierra Madre cross was launched on Good Friday in April in Tuguegarao, Cagayan.
He said the pilgrimage dramatizes the government failure to stop the destruction of the Sierra Madre mountain range, considered one of the last bastions of lush forests in the country that starts in the north in Cagayan and ends in the south in Quezon.
The northern part of Quezon at the foot of Sierra Madre has long been the haven of illegal loggers.