[In the news] Bishop marks golden jubilee with anti-mining calls -MindaNews

MindaNews » Bishop marks golden jubilee with anti-mining calls.

By Bong S. Sarmiento
April 11, 2012

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/10 April) — Diocese of Marbel Bishop Dinualdo D. Gutierrez marked the 50th year of his priestly ministry yesterday with a late afternoon thanksgiving mass where hundreds of parishioners offered prayers for the protection of the environment from the impact of large-scale mining in the area.

For 30 years now, Gutierrez has been the bishop of Marbel, whose pastoral jurisdiction includes the town of Tampakan, South Cotabato, host of the copper and gold project of foreign-backed Sagittarius Mines, Inc.

Under his leadership, the diocese has been at the forefront in the struggle against the Tampakan project, which is planned to go on commercial stream in 2016.

To commemorate his golden jubilee, Gutierrez celebrated a special mass, concelebrated by at least two dozens bishops from across the country and numerous priests under the diocesan territory.

One of the prayers read by a layperson included an appeal for government officials to help the Church in protecting the environment because it is God’s creation, apparently referring to the Tampakan copper-gold project.

“[May the Lord God] hear the prayers of our people,” the bishop responded.

Pope Benedict XVI has written a letter, which was read during the mass, to congratulate Gutierrez for being the bishop of Marbel for three decades.

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