Catholic bishops, faithful honor defender of Baguio trees
BAGUIO CITY — The bishop, who fought to protect Baguio’s pine trees, was laid to rest on Saturday (July 6) by the Catholic faithful.
The late Baguio Bishop Carlito Cenzon, who died at the age of 80 in a Manila hospital on June 26, was buried at a city cemetery for members of the religious order Congregatio Immaculati Cordis Mariee (Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary or CICM).
Cenzon was hailed for upholding “the dignity of creation in his advocacy on the care of the environment” by bishops who led his funeral Mass at the Baguio Cathedral.
Among the bishops were Cotabato Archbishop emeritus Orlando Quevedo and Cenzon’s successor Bishop Victor Bendico.
The bishops recalled Cenzon’s active defense of “every precious pine tee in this city, calling on all to preserve the prestigious name of Baguio as a city of pines.”
Cenzon led some of the biggest environmental street marches, which protested development projects that required the clearing of Baguio trees that now number 2.5 million, as of the latest government inventory.
Raised in Baguio, Cenzon enjoyed trekking mountains and crossing rivers to meet and share food with people whom he ministered, the bishops said.
They said Cenzon once said, “We need to have an active role in promoting the interest of the marginalized.”
Appointed as Vicar Apostolic of Tabuk City in Kalinga province in 1992, Cenzon was reassigned to Baguio as its Vicar Apostolic in 2002.
He was promoted to bishop when the city was transformed into a diocese in 2004. He retired in 2016.
Two days before his death, Cenzon offered his last commentary, the bishops said, after watching Mass on television: “Jesus came to bring peace on Earth and we do not get the message. We don’t get the message. And how foolish we are that we insist on our language, retranslating everything.” (Editor: Leti Boniol)
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