CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 9 December 2017

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Church urged to generate less waste

HONG KONG (SE): Catholic organisations were urged to use less disposable products especially during its large-scale activities at a forum and Mass organised by the Catholic Messengers of Green Consciousness to mark the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation at St. Vincent’s Chapel, Wong Tai Sin, on September 1.
 
The Mass also marked the Season of Creation from September 1 to October 4, when Christians around the world undertake to pray and take action for the benefit of creation.
 
During the forum, Peggy Li Ka-yan, a Hong Kong delegate to World Youth Day in Poland last year, expressed her hope that the Church can avoid using disposable products in its big activities in doing its part to protect the environment.
 
She estimated that over 37 million sets of eating utensils and a large number of drinking water bottles were thrown away during the event in Poland. She said without refuse classification, disposable products will worsen the worldwide pollution problem. She hopes the Church can use environmentally friendly resources and deal with the waste properly in large activities like World Youth Day in the future.
 
As large-scale Taizé Community activity is scheduled to be held in Hong Kong next year, she hopes the organiser will keep environmental friendliness in mind how it uses resources.
 
Father Anthony Chang Sang-loi, chairperson of the group, said it plans to send a proposal to the organising committee of the next World Youth Day in Panama urging them to use more environmentally friendly resources. 
 
He said complete faith should include the love for God, for people, as well as for creation.
 
In his homily during the Mass, Father Chang stressed that global warming has reached a critical stage. He urged people to be more aware of the looming environmental crisis and to change not only their daily habits, but also the direction in life as a whole.
 
People attending the Mass were invited to pray for creation and for the Framework Convention on Climate Change, agreed to by 197 countries to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. They also brought cards in which they had written their promises to protect the environment to the altar as an offering.
 
Kam Mei-si, a parishioner at St. John the Baptist parish, Kwun Tong, said since Pope Francis proclaimed World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation two years ago, she has tried her best to adopt vegetarian diets, especially avoiding beef and lamb as the two kinds of meat involve high emissions of carbon dioxide in the production process. She said people should take actions to protect the environment themselves instead of shifting the responsibility to others.
 
Yong Hin-shing said he learned through a pilgrimage to Taizé, France, in 2013 that actions to protect the environment can be a kind of spiritual formation. In the past few years, he has not switched on the air conditioner while sleeping in order to save energy. As an Anglican, he said he was happy to see the Catholic Church pray for the environment together with the Orthodox Church, showing the unity of Churches in stewardship of the environment.
 
A related prayer service was also held at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception that evening.
 
The Justice and Peace Commission, the Franciscan Order’s Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Group as well as other groups put together a series of activities from September to October to help people learn to treasure God’s gift of creation. 

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