TAWAU – Sixty-four enthusiastic participants took part in a workshop entitled “Hope in the Climate Crisis”, organized by the Holy Trinity parish here on Oct 26-28.
It was the first workshop of its kind for the parish, and was conducted by Clare Westwood, head of the Episcopal Commission for Creation Justice of the Penang Diocese, at the invitation of the parish priest, Msgr Nicholas Ong.
A fruitful outcome of the workshop was the formation of a Creation Justice (CJ) Ministry in the parish, with the full support and approval of Msgr Ong.
Msgr Ong, an environmental advocate himself, was present throughout the entire event alongside his parishioners.
The participants discovered the meaning and key messages of Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’ mi Signore (Care for Our Common Home), against the backdrop of the global climate emergency and other global crises. They also learnt how urgent it was to establish creation justice and resilience for the sake of current and future generations.
Among the participants, who were parishioners of Holy Trinity, were three from Sandakan. It was truly amazing that young and old alike took part in this workshop, the youngest being 13.
Several teenagers shared that they felt sad about the destruction of Mother Earth and wanted to do something to save it.
Interestingly, the older participants opined “We have to stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution to prevent the climate crisis from reaching catastrophic levels.”
“We are very glad that we have this workshop for our parishioners as we all need to know the global situation and what to do about it,” said Clarence Chin, who headed the organizing committee for the workshop, and who is also the chairperson of the Office of Human Development in the parish.
“The workshop has been an eye-opener and a wake-up call for all of us,” said the parish priest. “Now that we know what we did not know before, we need to turn all that we have learnt into action,” he added.
The CJ Ministry committee was duly set up at a meeting on Nov 8, attended by many of the workshop participants. Magdalind Gabriel, who was appointed as its first chairperson, says “We believe completely in this mission to advance creation justice and resilience and we will do our utmost to carry it out with God’s grace.”
Msgr Ong has been appointed by Bishop Julius Gitom, as the spiritual adviser of the new Creation Justice Commission of Sandakan Diocese, which is part of the Episcopal Commission for Creation Justice of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. Monsignor’s team would initially comprise of members from the HTC CJ Ministry. – Clarence Chin