Coastal people are responsible for frequent natural calamities, meeting told
Khulna diocese on the southern coast of the Bay of Bengal has prioritized ecological plans and actions in its annual pastoral meeting. Some 60 priests, religious and laypeople from all the parishes attended the36th pastoral gathering, which had an environment theme in line with first year theme of Bangladesh Church’s three-year pastoral plan. The May 10-12 meeting held at National Social Catechetical Training Center in Jessore district, about 300 km south of Dhaka. “If we don’t have a good heart, we can’t make our surrounding environment nice,” Oblate Bishop Bejoy D’Cruze of Khulna told the gathering. He said: “We chose the theme because people have destroyed the natural environment and also [damaged] our existing culture. So now we’re facing dire consequences.” Bishop D’Cruze planted a sapling at the center's premises to encourage participants to foster environmental care through tree plantation. Jesuit Father Pankaj Pereira, a trained ecologist based in the diocese, blamed human actions for natural disasters. “Coastal people are responsible for frequent natural calamities such as cyclones, flooding and river erosion. They have destroyed the environment for their living.” However, the diocese supported by the Church’s social arm Caritas and Jesuit Fathers, has provided substantial assistance to rehabilitate the victims of cyclones Sidr and Aila that ripped across the area in 2007 and 2009. Thousands of houses and hundreds of cyclone centers were built for the homeless, many roads reconstructed and trees were planted to create a green belt for the safety of coastal people. Besides ongoing rehabilitation programs the meeting planned to enhance socio-economic, cultural, educational and moral development and livelihood initiatives for the people. Tree plantation is a must for the parishes, said the meeting. For financial stability, credit union movements and active basic Christian communities will be encouraged. Related reports Ongoing rehabilitation a must in cyclone-prone BangladeshChurch aid continues for cyclone victimsBangladesh teachers learn how to go green BA14218
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