Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta has stressed the need for Catholics to have “a noble heart” to protect the earth in a message to mark Laudato Si
’ Week in Indonesia. The event marks the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’
(On Care for Our Common Home). It is sponsored by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and is meant to encourage Catholic communities to take bolder action to protect creation during the week-long initiative from May 16-24 under the theme “Everything is Connected.” During the week, Catholics from across the world are uniting to reflect, pray, and prepare for a better future together. In a seven-minute video message screened by all parishes in Jakarta Archdiocese during livestreamed Sunday Masses on May 17, Cardinal Suharyo told the story of a parrot and a big tree.
He said the parrot and other birds made nests in the tree as they felt safe there. However, it was only the parrot that decided to stay when the tree started dying from a hunter’s poisonous arrow. When a stranger asked the parrot why it stayed, the parrot answered that the tree had helped its family. The stranger, who had special powers, then brought the tree back to life and, as a result, other birds returned to the tree. “The story is simple, but the message is powerful. We all are asked to have a noble heart, just like the parrot. [With a noble heart], we can protect, preserve and make efforts to make our earth a prosperous and peaceful place for all creation,” said Cardinal Suharto. “Let’s welcome Pope Francis’ invitation to think about our concern and to listening to our call to preserve and protect the earth so that it can be a prosperous and peaceful place for us, human beings, and all God’s creation,” said the prelate, who is also chairman of the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference. The archdiocese’s Commission for Justice and Peace called on all parish priests to reintroduce the pope’s encyclical and to encourage parishioners to work for the environment. “Avoid wasting food because there are still many poor and hungry people. Plant trees with families. Support local farmers who are now suffering, instead of only giving food to street people in cities,” commission chairman Father Agustinus Heri Wibowo said. Speaking to UCA News, Father Wibowo said Catholics should not be wasteful. “We are called to not buy and then throw food away because there are still many people who need it. Also, used clothes should not just be discarded as they can create a waste problem,” he said. He said the pope’s encyclical highlights a strong bond between nature and human beings, particularly the poor. “It means there is a mutual action between human beings and nature. And poor people are part of our common home.”
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