In September 2020, Missio held an online mission animation for our volunteers and supporters. Held in two sessions, the event saw a great turnout. It was wonderful to see everyone when we still can’t gather in person!

The theme of the event was Laudato Si’ – Pope Francis’ encyclical on care of our common home – which sees its fifth anniversary this year. With His Holiness’ September prayer intention focusing squarely on the earth’s precious resources, and while the Christian world observes the Season of Creation, now is the time to explore these vital issues.

Lessons from our Missionary family

We heard some truly inspiring stories from our sisters and brothers in missionary dioceses overseas. While many poor communities are hit hardest by the effects of climate change and environmental destruction, they are rarely the cause of the problem. Nonetheless, we were humbled and inspired to hear the innovations parishes overseas are creating and the hard work they’re putting in. There were plenty of lessons for parishes here in England and Wales.

Stewards of creation in Malaysia

Fr Oniz MHM is Parish Priest for St. Alphonsus’ Parish, Julau. Originally from Uganda, the missionary has created a demonstration garden, where he grows pineapples, sweet potatoes, pawpaws, tomatoes and passion fruit. He also rears rabbits and chickens and uses their natural waste for organic pesticide and fertilizer.

Pray with Pope Francis for our common home>>

Fr Oniz shared:

“A healthy environment makes a healthy mission. As missionaries we need to be in touch with nature … we read the signs of the times.”

The whole parish is involved in minimising waste and becoming self sufficient. Parish volunteer Josephine explained that the parish kitchen is becoming greener by replacing plastic plates and cups with reusable ones made of stainless steel.  Members of the Legion of Mary and some of the young people in the parish grow flowers in recycled tyres for Parish functions, rather than buying in cut ones. The youth of the parish also run a recycling centre for plastic and tins.

Fr. Oniz is proud of the young people in his Parish. He says:

“the youth have seen the need to care for the environment, not just to preach the word of God but to be stewards of creation.”

Caring for our Common Home

The Parish of St. Francis Xavier in Kanowit, Malaysia is also making great headway in becoming greener. They’re leading the way on caring for our common home with organic farming methods, recycling, and upcycling rubbish. Parish priest Fr Mathews (left) tells us:

“As a missionary, I feel that the care of our Common Home is not only an inseparable part of the Missio Dei in which all the baptised share, but also a responsibility given to each of us.”

Kanowit town sits where the Kanowit River and Rajang river meet. Just this year Kanowit has been subject to flooding and landslides which forced hundreds of people to flee their homes and cut the town off. But Fr Mathews’ parish has been working to become safer, greener and more self sufficient. They are planting trees around the parish compound to prevent landslides and provide fruit for the parish. Meanwhile the parish runs an organic farm producing fruit trees, vegetables and flowers. Sister Anna (main picture) shares that they make their own organic pesticides using fermented rice. She says:

The organic farm has fruit trees, vegetables and flowers. We make organic pesticides and manure in this initiative.

And the church is investing in green energy.  James Angkin (left), the Parish Pastoral Committee Chairman, tells us:

“We have started changing the bulbs in the Church premises to L.E.D. bulbs and are in the process of installing solar power. This will also be used in the green-technology toilet that we are in the process of building. It will use water harvested from rain, natural light in addition to solar light and have enough ventilation for fresh air.”

Malaysia is just one of the countries we heard from during the mission animation. We’ll be sharing more stories from our Missio Heroes soon.

Over to you!

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