Covenant of Hope: The Augustinian Recollects and UN Laureate’s United Quest for Net Zero | ASTIG.PH (2024)

Beneath the sheltering skies of Pililla, Rizal, within the hallowed walls of Nuestra Señora de la Salud Friary, a partnership of historic significance was born. It is here, along the winding San Antonio Feeder Road in Brgy. Quisao, that the Order of Augustinian Recollects (OAR) headed by Rev. Fr. Ronel Gealon, OAR (local prior), together with Rev. Fr. Randolf Castillo, OAR – La Salud Laudato Si Farm Director, Fr. Albert Pellazar, OAR-Local Procurator, and the UN Laureate Sci. Dpl. Glenn Banaguas, have joined forces in a profound commitment to our planet’s future.

This sacred space, steeped in spiritual heritage, has become the cradle of a movement that intertwines the threads of resiliency and sustainability into a vibrant tapestry of ecological action. The friary, a beacon of tranquility and contemplation, now also stands as a symbol of dynamic change and hope.

The union of the Augustinian Recollects and the world-renowned scientist at this friary marks a pivotal moment in the journey towards net zero emissions. It is a collaboration that transcends mere dialogue, evolving into tangible initiatives that echo the core values ofLaudato Si—care for creation, respect for life, and the pursuit of harmony with nature.

The encyclicalLaudato Siis not merely a document; it is a clarion call for environmental conversion, a blueprint for a sustainable lifestyle that honors the Creator by preserving His creation. The Augustinian Recollects, with their profound spiritual heritage, have embraced this call wholeheartedly. They understand that achieving net zero emissions is not just a technical target but a moral imperative, a testament to the respect and love we owe to our planet and to each other.

Rev. Fr. Randy Castillo, OAR mentioned: “Joining hands with Science Diplomat Glenn Banaguas marks the beginning of a profound alliance, one that transcends the mere act of partnership. It is the cultivation of a legacy that will echo through the annals of time—a legacy of ecological harmony and unwavering social justice. Together, we are planting seeds of transformative change, seeds that are destined to sprout into a robust garden of resiliency and sustainability. This garden will flourish across communities, across nations, providing sustenance and shelter for all beings.”

The other priest who also initiated the advocacy, Fr. Albert Pellazar, OAR also said: “Through our collaboration, we are witnessing the dawn of a transformative era. His partnership is not just a meeting of minds, but a fusion of visions that elevates our mission to new heights. Together, we are pioneering a path that leads to a resilient future, marked by the flourishing of ecosystems, the empowerment of communities, and the realization of a sustainable world. This alliance is a beacon of progress, guiding us towards a horizon where hope and action coalesce into tangible, life-affirming change.

The partnership is a beacon of hope. It is a union that transcends boundaries, uniting diverse voices in a chorus that sings of possibility and promise. Together, they are pioneering initiatives that cut across sectors, from renewable energy projects that light up homes without harming the atmosphere, to educational programs that sow the seeds of ecological consciousness in young minds.

Imagine a world where every monastery, every church, every place of worship becomes a sanctuary for sustainability. Solar panels gleam on rooftops like modern-day mosaics, gardens bloom with native flora, and the faithful gather not just to pray, but to plan – plan for a future where the air is clean, the water pure, and the land fertile.

The journey to net zero is a pilgrimage of sorts, a path that leads us back to our roots as caretakers of the Earth. It is a path fraught with challenges, but also lined with opportunities for growth, learning, and unity. The Augustinian Recollects and the multi-awarded scientist are walking this path with determination and faith, inviting all who share this planet to take the step with them.

Sci. Dpl. Glenn Banaguas uttered: “Within the sacred silence of prayer and the hallowed halls of worship, lies the profound power of religion to shape our world. It is here, in the quiet moments of reflection, that we find the strength to confront the tempest of climate change. Religion offers us not just solace, but a call to action—a call that resonates with the very core of our being, urging us to forge a future where peace is woven into the fabric of society, resilience is as natural as breath, and sustainability is the creed by which we live. As we stand united in faith, let us also stand vigilant in stewardship, transforming our collective prayers into palpable actions that cradle our planet in a nurturing embrace. Together, we can turn the tide, championing a world where harmony with nature is the ultimate testament to our devotion and love.”

Let us unite for our common home. Let us embrace the wisdom of Laudato Si and the urgency of the climate crisis. Let us walk together on this collaborative path to net zero, and let us make this journey a testament to what humanity can achieve when we come together for the greater good,” the scientist added.

The Augustinian Recollects, a Roman Catholic religious order, have a significant presence in the Philippines, where they focus on living a fraternal life in community and following Christ with devotion. Their mission in the Philippines began with the Spanish colonization and has since been marked by evangelization efforts, particularly in remote areas. They are known for their missionary zeal and have established various institutions, including schools and churches, to serve the spiritual and educational needs of the Filipino people.

Science Diplomat Glenn Banaguas is a lauded scientist whose work in sustainability and resilience has garnered international acclaim. He is the recipient of prestigious global awards, recognizing his innovative approaches to climate change mitigation, adaptation and disaster risk management. His leadership in environmental research and policy advocacy has significantly contributed to building resilient communities and promoting sustainable development practices globally. Through his initiatives, Banaguas continues to inspire action towards a more sustainable and resilient future.


Covenant of Hope: The Augustinian Recollects and UN Laureate’s United Quest for Net Zero | ASTIG.PH (2024)


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