Bishop Rojas offers strong Creation Care message while hiking in Oak Glen
Ever since his boyhood days hiking in the foothills of Aguascalientes, Mexico, Bishop Alberto Rojas says he felt drawn to nature and recognized very clearly God’s hand in its creation.
“It’s a beautiful remedy for me,” he says.
On September 16 Bishop Rojas took a morning hike through Oak Glen Preserve to celebrate the Season of Creation (Sept. 1 – Oct. 4) and share his thoughts on the presence of God in nature, the responsibility of human beings to care for the planet and the emphasis Pope Francis has placed on the subject. A video of the day was released on September 29.
“Come up to the forests, come up to the mountains, see nature,” Bishop Rojas implores in the video. “Connect with the One who made you.”
The 909-acred Oak Glen Preserve, located at 5,024 feet in the San Bernardino National Forest, offers a variety natural environs including a botanical garden, apple farm, coniferous forest, deciduous forest, and duck pond. He stopped often as he hiked to get a closer look at the different plants, berries and flowers that lined the trail. Passing a group of children who were on a field trip sparked his thoughts on the important role that youth and young adults have in caring for the environment.
“We need more education, beginning with our little ones, that if we don’t take care of nature we are killing ourselves in a way,” Bishop Rojas said.
He spoke with anticipation about Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, Laudete Deum, set for release Oct. 4, that is described as a sequel to his 2015 Encyclical Laudato Si’. The Holy Father will likely continue to emphasize the interdependence of all the life forms created by God, Bishope Rojas speculated.
“He speaks about ecology, not only as nature, but ecology in an integral way, which includes all of us,” Bishop Rojas said.
Since becoming Ordinary Bishop of the Diocese in December of 2020, Bishop Rojas has emphasized the importance of environmental stewardship and following Pope Francis’ guidelines set forth in Laudato Si’. He dedicated a new solar array at St. Junipero Serra House of Formation and Christ the Redeemer Parish in October of 2021. Last April, the Bishop celebrated the Diocese’s first-ever Earth Day Mass at St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish in Beaumont.
Look for Bishop’s hiking video at Oak Glen on the Diocesan YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/sanbernardinodiocese.
Video in English: https://youtu.be/XcWs56m-yqo?si=xlZLJLkyu8RPfmOh
Video in Spanish: https://youtu.be/ghnqBf4Y7G0?si=8ZPqp_EfIEuWTVB3