Suva (Agenzia Fides) - The Commission "Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation" of the Missionary Society of St. Columban wants to work within a new movement for the implementation of the principles of the encyclical "Laudato Sì": it is a question of protecting and promoting the very life of the people on the Pacific islands, to ensure the survival of the islands themselves, threatened by phenomena such as global climate change and sea level rise. "It is a complex, comprehensive, global and also moral obligation for all of us to try, together with our governments, non-governmental organizations, civil society, scientists, theologians and communities, to promote the preservation of human life and the 'common home' at various levels in our societies, as Pope Francis says in Laudato Sì", say the missionaries, who are attending study days in Suva to discuss the actions to be taken and raise awareness in the local community. "It will take time, commitment and resources, but we must do it now to give the new generations a chance. We need institutions, academics and religious organizations like ours to work together", says the Commission. "To know creation is to know the Creator, said Saint Columban, and as his successors we are called to listen to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor," say the missionaries who are raising awareness with their movement and want to stimulate action to apply the encyclical "Laudato Sì" to the context of Fiji, under the motto "a better future is in our hands". "The call to repentance and change is necessary from all of us. The cry of the earth and the cry of the poor reflect the broken relationship with our neighbors, with creation and with God. Today is the time to reconnect that bond", the missionaries say. "We have a great opportunity for renewal and growth through Laudato Sì.
In this eighth year since the publication of Laudato Sì, we want to look at how the encyclical applies to our society in Fiji, even though many Catholics in Fiji are still unaware of it, let alone the public in general. At the heart of Laudato Sì, there is the call to always be peacemakers: therefore a work of reconciliation is necessary at all levels, among ourselves, in the different groups of our society , in our relationship to our common home," states the Justice and Peace and Integrity of Creation Missionaries Commission, which works in coordination with a forum for interreligious dialogue set up with the young people in Suva. Last but not least, the missionary work of the priests of St. Columban on the Fiji Islands is also characterized by solidarity with the people affected by the hurricane, help for the needy and needy and fruitful encounters between people of different religions. Responding to the call of Bishop Victor Foley in 1952, the St. Columban Missionaries came to Fiji 70 years ago. They have since devoted themselves to pastoral ministry in parishes and have spread throughout the archipelago to contribute to the Church's mission of evangelization, teaching and social work. The first priestly ordinations of native members from Fiji took place in 1994 when Father Iowane Gukibau was ordained a priest. The 'Missionary Society of St. Columban' is a society of apostolic life of pontifical right named after Saint Columban, a 6th-century Irish monk who preached the gospel in Europe. It was formally founded in 1918 as a missionary society by diocesan priests. The first St. Columban missionaries went to China in 1920 to relieve the suffering of the poorest. There are currently over 500 St. Columban Missionaries in 15 countries in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Oceania. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 16/6/2023)