CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Putting nature in the context of faith

HONG KONG (SE): The Messengers of Green Consciousness urged people to show their colours and commit themselves to the preservation of nature during Lent.

Father Anthony Chang Sang-loi, the president of the group, spoke with catechumens on the importance of promoting environmental protection at a talk given at St. Vincent’s chapel in Wong Tai Sin on February 24.

Father Chang pointed out that less than 10 per cent of newly-baptised people that he has approached say that they had learned anything about the close relationship between nature and faith during their formation period.

He explained that most Catholics set loving God and loving people as their top priority, without realising that by neglecting nature they are missing an important fraction in the equation.

He urged the catechists responsible for the formation of people during their preparation for baptism to pay more attention to the love of nature in the catechumenate.

Father Chang said the Book of Genesis presents a strong basis for the relationship between faith, environmental protection, biological diversity and continuous development, as chapter one is a strong message about the relationship among all forms of life created by God.

He said he believes ignoring environmental preservation issues reflects a negligence in the care of the health of others, as the impact of pollution and other things disrupts God’s long-term plan for his ongoing creation.

He urged people to pay more attention to the relationship between faith and nature during Lent and reflect on their attitude towards the protection of nature as part of their preparation for receiving the sacrament of reconciliation.

Father Chang added that although this is a topic rarely covered in the sacrament, such reflection would be a positive and creative way to respond to the call of Pope Francis in Praise Be: On care for our common home.

He reminded people that environmental protection is an indispensable part of our faith, a point that the pope makes so strongly in his encyclical.

Father Chang explained that in his parish, he is planning to issue some guidelines on how to respond to the question for the reference of his parishioners in preparing themselves for reconciliation.

Tse Tsui-yi, a catechist from St. James’ in Yau Tong, said she talks about environmental protection, but from a social point of view rather than a religious one, so is looking forward to getting more information on nature’s relationship with faith through the talks organised by the Messengers of Green Consciousness.

Precious Blood Sister Bernadette Woo Sau-ying, from St. Margaret’s in Happy Valley, said as catechists sometimes do share about environmental protection while covering the book of Genesis, she agreed that more material is needed, so that the promotion of environmental awareness can be more effective during the catechumenate, as people do encourage one another during their discussions.

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