We pray for the children who are already suffering the consequences of the socio-environmental crisis, and that we may learn to be simple and joyful like them despite the hardships.
“Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know, which our children will never see, because they have been lost forever” (LS 33).
(Br. Tagoy Jaazeal Jakosalem OAR, Philippines)
Bless us, God our Father, The immense beauty of the universe is an expression of your love for us.
The earth in its freshness The trees and plants in all their grandeur, Allow us to cherish the beauty of life – in the person and in nature, Bequeathed by the stewardship of our ancestors.
Renew us, Lord Jesus, In whom all things are renewed by the grandeur of your saving grace. You taught us love in all its fullness, Teach us to be active stewards of your creation – Defending the rights of our people, Protecting our mountains, lands, trees and animals, Renewing what we have lost through our sinfulness.
Empower us, Holy Spirit. To embrace the prophetic life of stewardship, rejecting all forms of abuse in our environment, inspiring a cleaner and sustainable future for our children, developing innovative solutions to address environmental degradation and climate change. As we care for the gift of our existence, we care too, for our world.
Voices from the Distant Golden Land
Fr. Kurt Zion Pala, SSC, is a Filipino Columban priest serving in Myanmar, a country grappling with long-standing internal conflicts and their devastating consequences, including loss of life and environmental destruction. Fr. Kurt actively engages with young people, guiding them in environmental education and advocacy, and plays a pivotal role in coordinating the Laudato Si’ Movement in Myanmar.
Reflection based on the Gospel of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (John 3:16-18)
The world these days can be cruel and indifferent. It can seem nobody is there for us. Nobody cares and listens to us. We can feel lonely and unloved. But we are reminded today of the immensity of God’s love for us – “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.” Our God is a loving God, and not a God who condemns and punishes. A God who listens and cares.
When I first arrived in Myanmar, the strangeness of the land and the people scared me a bit. The voices I heard were strange to my ears – the songs that they sing and the words that they speak were all alien to me.
And so for a year I learned the local Burmese language and then later the language of the people I work mostly with, the Kachins. For sometime it was weird making those strange voices myself when I started speaking and conversing in Burmese or Kachin but later on I have gotten used to it. I started singing.
But these days there are so many voices silenced – voices of children and of people, animals and Creation lost in the war. Songs of birds and children’s laughter have been replaced by the sounds of exploding bombs and gun-fire or the cries of children and women.
Listening is an important task for us as Christians. Pope Francis in his message for the World Day of Social Communications said that “faith comes through listening.” He affirmed that “listening corresponds to the humble style of God,” who reveals Himself by speaking, and by listening to men and women recognizes them as His partners in dialogue. Human beings are called in turn to “tune in, to be willing to listen,” as God calls them to a covenant of love. Basically Pope Francis tells us that “listening is a dimension of love.” (Pope Francis, World Communications Day 2022)
That is why it is important for us to listen – even to be in silence.
We do not often hear the voices of young people and children. In many places including the Church, young peoples’ voices are disregarded and neglected. And in places like Myanmar many children are crying instead of singing and laughing – crying for the loss of their parents, siblings or their homes. Young people in Myanmar have recently found their voice. They are now able to express themselves and tell the world who they are. These are some of the voices from the distant Golden Land of Myanmar. Listen, please listen to them. All they want is to learn. Listen to the voices from the distance. The education of young people in Myanmar is facing a huge crisis – from basic to higher education, many young people are struggling or are already dropping out of the system. We hope to continue to fill in the gaps in the system by providing alternative programs like the Positive Youth Development Program which builds the resiliency of young people so that they will be able to face the current challenges but also grab opportunities to grow.
Help us help these young people. Help us help them find their voices. Let us listen to them.
Questions for reflection
- “For God so loved the world, He gave us his only Son,” how do you feel about this? What is God’s invitation for you?
- What are the voices and sounds around you that you used to hear? Why are they gone now?
- How can you lift up the voices of those who aren’t heard in your communities?
Amandina Maria da Silva is an inspiring individual who has just graduated with a degree in midwifery. Alongside her studies, she is a passionate human rights activist, an Animator of Animators and a co-founder of Laudato Si’ Movement-Timor Leste which is made up of hundreds of youth animators.
I have always recognized that just like us humans, plants, animals, and other beings in our environment are also God’s creation. I believe that we should coexist peacefully and in harmony with them, which is why I am committed to working against climate change. As a Christian, my faith has amplified this feeling, and I have been very much inspired by Pope Francis’ teaching to “listen to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” This is what led me to take the Laudato Si’ Animators course with the Laudato Si’ Movement in 2020, which was a big step for me.
As a member of the Timor Leste Laudato Si’ Animators Youth Organization, which is now the Laudato Si’ Movement chapter in my country, I participate in awareness sessions to spread the message of Laudato Si’ to other youths, communities, and parishes. Additionally, we run social media campaigns on waste management. I also empower and assist new Laudato Si’ Animators in Timor Leste who are currently taking the Animators course so that they would complete the modules and the capstone project.
I am calling on all human beings, especially Christians, to take action. Even small actions, when done wholeheartedly, can have a significant positive impact on our common home. Our faith will have more meaning when we respect and care for God’s creation.
My hope is that more, if not all, Christians and youths in Timor Leste and around the world, will embrace the message of Laudato Si’. If they join us in our efforts to care for creation, we will be able to combat the climate crisis and eliminate climate refugees, as well as prevent the cry of the earth.
Hearing Creation’s Cry
Solid and liquid waste pose significant challenges in Timor Leste, and the youth Laudato Si’ Animators in Timor Leste are actively involved in tackling this issue. The accumulation of rotting rubbish contributes to air pollution and unhealthy living conditions. Additionally, blocked drains due to improper waste disposal lead to flooding and create breeding grounds for disease-carrying vectors such as flies, mice, and cockroaches.
Hearing Creation’s Song
Timor Leste has rich biodiversity, and in August 2022, a remarkable discovery was made in Nino Konis Santana National Park. Within one of its limestone caves, a new species of bent-toed gecko was identified and officially named Cyrtodactylus santana. This finding marks the first formal description of a bent-toed gecko species in Timor-Leste, highlighting the country’s unique and diverse wildlife.
Join us in our second Laudato Si’ Global Encounter
The Global Encounters are meetings organized by our Global Membership Council to talk about how we are building the future of the planet, and the opportunities ahead of us as the Laudato Si’ Movement.
The second Encounter of 2023 will be on Saturday, June 17. It will be focused on Asia Pacific with speakers from members of our global movement. There will be space for prayer, testimonies of ecological conversion and much more!
Join us online! Register below to participate: fill the form and we will send you access information to the event and anticipatory exclusive content.