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KOTA KINABALU – The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei had in their recent meeting Jul 7-11 endorsed the establishment of a new body, called Commission of Justice and Peace.
CommThe commission is headed by the local ordinary of the Diocese of Sibu, Bishop Joseph Hii as its President, with at least one representative from each of the arch/diocese to make up the team of members.
To date, the commission had convened three meetings to chart the direction of the commission, chaired by Dr Sheila Anne, a lay representative from the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur, the latest of which was recently held in the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu Sep 2-4 (see separate story). The other two were held in Sibu (Sep 2013) and Melaka Johor Diocese (Feb 2014), with blessings from all the respective local ordinaries.
Speaking to Catholic Sabah recently, Bishop Hii said the idea of the commission is to be in solidarity with the Holy Father, Pope Francis, who said ‘I want a church which is poor and for the poor’,
‘Besides that, we are also committed to respond to the cries and concerns of the neediest in the light of the Catholic Social Teachings,” he said.
Touching on that, he added that one of the issues which tends to be overlooked but deserves immediate attention, is the environmental issues, in tandem with the concern voiced out by St John Paul II who underscored that the ecological crisis needs to find new ecological awareness.
He elaborated that contrary to what the name of the Commission might suggest, this Commission is committed to address and deal with the environmental issues threatening every strata of the society now.
“To this end, the Commission has decided to adopt the vision of ‘Communion of All Creation’ (Rev 21:1-2) and to live up to it, we have adopted the ‘Stewardship of all Creation’ as our mission,” he enthused.
The commission would encourage people everywhere to see that environment issues must transcend above race, religion, caste, creed, and colour so that it would be a unifying factor to bring everyone together for the world.
When asked on the plan of action, Bishop Hii said the immediate plan would be to call upon each arch/ diocese to live to the best of their ability, a green concept in their daily lives. He hoped that the representatives of the Commission would play a proactive role to start the ball rolling in their respective arch/dioceses in this mission. – Fr David Ho
70% of world pollutants come from our home
KOTA KINABALU – It had been revealed that 70% of the world pollutants come from individual households! This could happen even as we wash the dishes! The amount of dish washing detergent is being washed down the drain daily by over 7 billion world population!
This is totally contrary to the common belief that industries are the main source of world pollution.
This shocking revelation was made known to the members of the Commission of Justice and Peace by presenters from NGO representatives who were invited to a two-day seminar cum workshop on environment issues organized by the commission Sep 3-5 at the Sacred Heart Parish Centre.
Several presentations were made by NGO bodies from SEPA, WWF(M), SBEU, YMM and PACOS, as well as from the government agency (EPD) who was entrusted to look after environmental issues, particularly in Sabah.
The representation from the Church, which was made up of 10 members from the arch/dioceses and led by the Commission’s president, Bishop Joseph Hii was a huge source of encouragement and a positive sign which augurs well for the future, according to the NGOs.
Also present was Sue Jayasuria, the former founding president of SEPA who assisted the commission in establishing contact with the NGOs to form the team of presenters. Msgr Nicholas Ong of Sandakan Diocese, whose initiative and assistance as advisor and coordinator for the two-days meet, also contributed much to its success.
The seminar/workshop was also intended to serve as a platform for the commission to establish contact with those relevant agencies who share the same goal as the commission.
For further enlightenment, the commission members were introduced to a simple yet impressive solution that would help to reduce the 70% pollution generated from households by just using rice rinse water.
Apart from that, the members were given a hands-on experience on how to produce cleaning products with a short field trip to SMK St Francis Convent to see how effectively the school had adopted the concept through their garden project using all natural products as fertilizers.
The next commission meeting has been scheduled for Feb 3-6, 2015 and would be hosted by Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur. – Fr David Ho