Indonesian cardinal tells faithful to give healthy food aid

Jakarta prelate calls for acts of solidarity to help feed those hard hit by the pandemic

Katharina R. Lestari, Jakarta

Updated: October 18, 2021 10:31 AM GMT

Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta reads out a pastoral letter for World Food Day in a video message played during Mass on Oct. 17 at St. Joseph Parish in Matraman, East Jakarta. (Photo: Katharina R. Lestari/UCA News)


Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta has appealed to Catholics in his archdiocese to share healthy food with the needy and those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a four-page pastoral letter called Give More Thanks and be a Blessing by Sharing Healthy Food, read out during Sunday Masses in all 66 parishes on Oct. 17 to mark World Food Day, he said this year's celebration coincided with the archdiocese's Year of Reflection.

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We can ask ourselves, our families or our communities: 'Have we loved our brothers and sisters and our neighbors who are in dire need of food? What have we done and what do we have to do to help ease their burden?' he said.

When sharing food, make sure what you give is healthy and nutritious, he said. 

He said many people in Indonesia had lost their jobs due to the pandemic, which has seen individuals and groups share food with those struggling in spontaneous and coordinated ways.

One way was hanging simple packages of food on people's fences to help them.

We should build a sense of solidarity through the sharing of healthy food in an effort to improve the common good and uphold human dignity

As a reflection, we can ask ourselves: 'Are we, our families or our communities part of these initiatives? Are we the ones who help those in need?' he said.

According to the Manpower Ministry, about 29.4 million workers in Indonesia have been it by the pandemic by falling victim to both permanent and temporary lay-offs.

Referring to his pastoral letter's theme, Cardinal Suharyo, who heads the Indonesian Bishops' Conference, said sharing healthy food should be seen as a form of solidarity with those affected by the pandemic as well as needy people.

We should build a sense of solidarity through the sharing of healthy food in an effort to improve the common good and uphold human dignity, he said.

We must continue to enliven the spirit of solidarity. It is hoped that solid cooperation will pave the way for creative ways to materialize our solidarity in accordance with the situation.

Earlier, Pope Francis said in his message for World Food Day that more than 3 billion people from across the globe do not have access to a nutritious diet while almost 2 billion are overweight or obese due to a poor diet and a sedentary life>

If we do not want to jeopardize the health of our planet and our entire population, we need to actively engage in change at all levels and reorganise food systems as a whole, he said.

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