In adopting this new vision-mission framework of Creation Justice, the Archdiocese takes a concrete step to respond to the call by Pope Francis to “hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” caused by a global crisis of climate change.
Fr Bernard Hyacinth, sj, of Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese, chairman of Episcopal Commission for Creation Justice of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei facilitated a seminar on Creation Justice at Sacred Heart Parish Centre on 11 August 2018.
The seminar was to provide exposure and explanation on the Commission to all parishes under the archdiocese, and was attended by 53 participants from 17 parishes.
Fr Bernard explained the emergency in which the earth is currently in, “The global climate crisis is at its breaking point…where ‘business as usual’ is no longer an option…” he said, quoting from Laudato Si’ (LS) 61.
“A healthy relationship with creation is one dimension of overall personal conversion. This includes recognizing our errors, sins, faults and failures (to care for the environment), that leads to heartfelt repentance and desire to change,” (LS 218) he said.
He summarized that the whole process of upholding creation justice is actually an act of gratitude to God, “If we acknowledge that all are gifts, therefore we are grateful to God. The more we are grateful, the more we care.”
He said global warming is degrading earth and its inhabitants, causing atmosphere’s temperature to rise 1°C; this has led to numerous undesirable impacts such as ice-sheets destabilizing, rising of sea level, ocean acidification, droughts, double river floods, less food on land and sea, 400,000 deaths a year and 21.5 million climate refugees per year.
These are impacting the global communities, more so the poor who cannot afford to defend and rebuild lives; a reality which we cannot turn a blind eye.
Participants of the seminar said these global impacts are also happening in their own places; rise of temperature causing highland such as Kundasang to lose its coolness, frequent floods caused by development activities, plastic usage, imbalanced management of earth’s resources and many more.
This call of ecological conversion was issued by Pope Francis in his second Encyclical Laudato Si Mi Signore: On Care for Our Common Home.
Archbishop John Wong reflected on the renamed Commission as a fruit of the Archdiocesan Prayer said every Eucharistic celebration.
“The world is already talking about it but we are not behind time, we have always been praying for the environment in our Archdiocesan Prayer,” said the Archbishop, referring to the prayer line ‘to care for the environment, to promote peace and justice in our society’.
Efforts of creation justice in this region have begun since 2013 with the formation of Episcopal Regional Commission for Justice and Peace.
It was renamed as Episcopal Commission for Creation Justice in February 2017, in line with its focus in responding to the global climate emergency.
The Episcopal Commission carries the vision “People living in oneness with all creation, upholding creation justice”. Meanwhile its mission is “to advance creation justice and resilience”.
Its long-term objectives are: 1) To build a movement of ecological citizens and 2) Establishing living pathways of creation justice and resilience.
The same commission under KK Archdiocese supports the Episcopal’s vision and mission. Archbishop Wong has appointed Deacon Russell Lawrine as the Protem Commission’s spiritual adviser and Sr Calista Saliun fsic as its chairperson.
Moving forward, the Protem Commission’s immediate plans are to identify needs, local issues and existing capacities, celebrating Season of Creation (see separate story), training of facilitators and study of Laudato Si’.
Season of Creation will be held on 17 September 2018 at Pace Bene, Purak Papar, from 9am-4pm. It is open to all parishes and the FSIC congregation who upholds the spirituality of St Francis of Assisi, championing the cause of environment.
The celebration will carry the theme “Walking Together” in line with the universal theme; two inputs will be given during the morning session on Climate Change and Laudato Si, followed by an activity in the afternoon. For further information, contact Sr Calista at 013-873 9396.
The Commission hopes that each parish will form their own Committee of Creation Justice (Environmental Committee) and walk together to realize its vision and mission. – Linda Edward