A Reflection on IMCS Spiritualty

Session on IMCS SPIRITUALITY
By Ruki Furnando, Lay Chaplain, IMCS AP

A Reflection on IMCS Spirituality by William Nokrek, BCSM

The session on IMCS SPIRITUALITY was held at CBCB, Mohammadpur on 1st September organized by Dhaka Archdiocesan BCSM. The session was held to let the students know about the IMCS and spirituality that are followed by IMCS. Ruki Fernando who was the former Asian coordinator of IYCS and the present lay chaplain of IMCS AP did this session.

According to Ruki, IMCS has its own spirituality. There are three identities and three major concerns. On the identity, the movement is a part of student milieu (at the tertiary education level), part of church and part of society. We need to reflect as Catholics what are impact that we have on society. We should be concerned about what is happening in Bangladesh, irrespective whether they are Catholics or students. All the student movements have their uniqueness.  There are many pros and cons in involving other communities in the Catholic movements. Impact of politics on different movements and all were discussed.

Catholic Social Teachings (CST) and other gospel teachings should be politicized and also we should spiritualize the politics. Christianity is about doing the difficult tasks. The path to heaven is not that easy, we need to suffer a lot. Forgiveness depends on the context and relationship; and it is a two way passage- the person forgiving and person asking for it. Forgiving is not an act of weakness, it’s an act of strength. Reconciliation should be done and the person should think about the wrongdoings he has done and acknowledge it. Later he should confess and thus reintegrate back to the society and aim for getting back a new life. The idea of imprisonment is not revenge rather rehabilitation. The highest law is the God’s law. The spirituality should be at the heart of the issues pertaining to politics, society and law etc. We should work with other community of students. Dialogues with the poor, the people from other cultures and people from other faiths/religions are major concerns of Federation of Asian Bishop Conference (FABC).

IMCS AP’s objectives includes student’s responsibilities in Church Mission and the world, working for justice and peace. This is done by witnessing Christian faith, methodologically integrating the Christian faith, building just society, promoting multi-cultural realities in Asia Pacific. IMCS is spiritually inspired by CST and the Gospel and it believes in the spirituality of action which says, “Faith without action is dead”.  We should live up to the social teaching by practicing it. Implementation should be done in our life through our actions. Jesus came to proclaim good news for people and freedom to captivated people. The three main message is Love your God, love yourself and love your neighbor including loving the creations of God, where we should not harm the creations. The way to enter heaven is to serve the people in whom God resides. Working for the people is to work for God Himself. We need to care for them as it says in Matthew 25:41-46. There is no point in just being religious and sharing the offerings and do no good works and serve justice. We need to be just full and righteous and Treat everyone equally as all of us are children of God.

The session ended by asking ourselves, how to build ourselves? Nourishment to spirituality comes from prayer and community who supports us. IMCS preaches the justice and preferential option for the poor. Preferential option for the poor means the equality in the eye of the laws. The people should get equal rights. The session on IMCS spirituality which was conducted by Ruki Fernando was very informative and encouraging to the students. The president of BCSM, Mr. William Nokrek and Secretary Mr. Shoshi Peris were present in the session along with other EC members of BCSM and  45 Members from 3 units of Dhaka BCSM were present here.

 

Hope to see a Non-communal, Developed and Humane World

Hope to see a non-communal, developed and humane world

By William Nokrek – BCSM

Indonesia is the darling child of a nature-a country filled with lush greenery, a variety of flowers and scenic beauty. An assortment of different communities, languages, and culture has made Indonesia diverse. According to my opinion- diversity, unity and tolerance are the components that make Indonesia beautiful. In fact, the Constitution of this country has introduced it in this way. The theme of Indonesian constitution is “unity is beauty”. I really like this saying.  Another wise man has aptly said, “Diversity is a beauty.”  I have been fascinated by this beauty of Indonesia. I am in love with it.  Truly, I am in love with Indonesia.

I never thought I would be able to go to Indonesia and then all on a sudden, this opportunity landed on me through IMCS Asia Pacific. Asian Youth Academy and Theology Forum, taking the theme “Asian Youth, Champion for Building a New World: Centering on Peace, Sustainable Developments, Ecological Justice” organized a summit with the participation of 13 countries in Jakarta, from 22nd-31st July. I felt a huge jolt of excitement when I heard I would be able to participate this time as well since this would be my second time. Got to meet many old faces and be friend many new ones! Was able to meet and interact with Alban, John and Neilan from IMCS India, Thomson, Mathilda and Ekarista from IMCS Indonesia and Ashique from IMCS Pakistan and was able to learn so much from everyone! This opportunity is a blessing for me, my family and my nation. Because once the program is over, I have to back to my roots. And when I do, hopefully, I will be able to translate the lessons from such experiences into my work.

Asian Youth Academy and Theology Forum organizes this outstanding training every year. This event is led by a former member of IMCS, Dr. Paul Hwang. The way he is dedicating himself to work for the growth of Asia is surely praiseworthy. We are undoubtedly grateful to him for his contribution. This event plays a vital role in grooming the future leaders of Asia. Another person whose name must be mentioned and without whom this event would not have been a success is Ms. Felicia Dian. We first met in 2012, in Dhaka, at the Asia Pacific Council of IMCS. This wonderful woman always wears a smile on her face, despite our constant disturbances. We keep bothering her for this and that and she, selflessly, keeps catering to our needs like a candle that burns itself to enlighten others.

I was not supposed to attend this event although I am the President of the National Executive Committee of BCSM.  Shoshi Sylvester Peris and George Lincoln Roy were supposed to represent Bangladesh. This opportunity came to us through the current coordinator of Asia Pacific Bangladesh, Mr. Ravi Tiserra, the man who is constantly fighting to rebuild IMCS AP. He gave me the opportunity to represent IMCS AP, I am grateful to him. Salute to you boss.

21st July 2017. My heart was racing with excitement. A day earlier, I came back finishing exposure with the Youth Commission at Kolkata. I was mentally prepared to gain new experience. As usual, at the airport, I stood in the queue to get my boarding pass. Transit was in Malaysia. Many Bangladeshis travel to Malaysia in search of work. Saw a teary eyed son, bidding farewell to his father there- a scene that broke my heart. I couldn’t help thinking about that guy, how he is journeying towards the unknown, how he doesn’t know what awaits for him there. Even after such uncertainties, many people take this path. I have read in the newspapers how many people sell off everything just so they can make this journey; they do so hoping better future, a little bit more happiness for them and their families. But do they really find? We learn about their situation and struggle from daily news- when their unlucky dead body comes back to country, fugitive by terrorists or when they rot in jails at abroad for being “illegal”. While waiting in the queue, I observed that the man gives boarding pass was misbehaving with these people. He was yelling at them every now and then. Although the hard work of these so called “petty” laborers are the source of his salary. I guess this is how the powerful always oppress the weak.

We discussed on many issues in the program. Sustainable development was one of the vital issues that we have discussed. We discussed a lot on this topic. We all are human being. But till today we couldn’t be a complete human. We are still holding inequity, that inequity is devouring the world. If this inequity persist, than sustainable development is not possible. One will have better share, while another would’nt even get the slightest amount- this inequity should not exist in the society. The world should belong equal to everyone. I don’t know the present condition of that person, last i met at airport. Let us pray that migrant workers like that brother might live well, may they get their right salary. Let their family smile like the brightest star in the sky. The persons who are working day and night for these migrant working people is none other than former IMCS coordinator Adrian Pereira. Salute to you guys. Best wishes for you and your work. Let the deprived working people earn, what is right to them.

After reaching Indonesia we stood in immigration line for the visa.  The duty officer asked what the purpose of our arrival was. After knowing that I have come to attend a program, he asked me about the type of program. After all the interrogation they made us wait in a room. The room was filled up with Bangladeshi people. Only one or some else were from other Country. The others, who stood in the immigration with us was from Argentina, Brazil. England. But they didn’t have to face any sort of interrogation. I do believe that, every country has their own laws if there is a necessity for questioning anyone for the security of the country they must do it. The law should be equal for everyone irrespective of caste creed nation. But people from other Country didn’t have to sit in the waiting room, this rule is only for the Bangladeshi people. There’s a song of Vupen Hazarika that states, “can you give me a white person with white blood or a black person with black blood?” We are all from the same world. But Alas, till now we could’nt  be one/ rules and laws are not same for all.

We discussed sustainable development, human rights, women rights, world peace, environment and all. But untill discrimination doesn’t end, world peace can never be introduced.
Novelist Samaresh Mazumder, in one of his novels, stated that “The routes are much better than the destination.” The reports of different countries and sessions of many intellectuals, made me realize that we are still on our route. We still need a lot of time to reach our destination. I believe if the youth of all nations work together for the overall development, then we are not far away from our destination. Then, the word DISCRIMINATION would vanish from the world some day. Because youth are the representatives of positive change. It is said, the darker the night becomes, the closer the morning comes. A new sun will start a new day. Let’s hope for the bright day to come soon.
Durring exposure, we realized the true beauty and diversity of Indonesia. We went to Temangung for exposure. Their we gather knowledge on a project of 4 social entrepreneurs. They built up the environment-friendly farm, bamboo bike, wooden radio mill and organic coffee garden, organic agriculture farm. They are now socially established by dint of their hard work. Bamboo bike and wooden radio have huge public demand. They have become self-sufficient by arranging a social market where they meet every 4 months, have traditional foods and enjoy among themselves. They are protecting their own culture with a strong hand, which is a very hard task to do. I was amazed to see the organic farm and organic coffee farm. Everyone except them uses insecticides and fertilizers. They use the organic process to grow their products. School going students learn these techniques of farming from them. Inded they are preparing their future generation for this project. While visiting these projects I felt the necessity to do something like this in my native land. Though this is quite challenging in a country like Bangladesh, I am trying my level best to do something. If not successful, at least I can say, “I tried”. I discovered a new self, found a new energy.

We have discussed sustainable development, human rights, women rights, world peace, environment, future youth leadership and all. We thought about how to build a new better world combining the youth all over the world. Because the word DISCRIMINATION is devouring us. Human Rights activist and columnist, the indigenous leader Sanjib Drong often says a word while discussing about discrimination, “Would the child born in Kandahar in Afghanistan and the child born in Amsterdam in Netherlands have the same facilities to grow up?” after United Nations took the plan of SDG 2030, a slogan has become quite popular –“Leave no one behind”. But this is the thing happening in the world, But we want to see non-communal, developed and humane world, where everyone will live in peace and harmony enjoying equal rights. There’s a song to the God, “make me your messenger of peace”. We the youths being united can work with this motto together and build the world full of love and unity.

 

A LEARNING REFLECTION OF IMCS SUMMER SCHOOL 2017

A LEARNING REFLECTION OF IMCS SUMMER SCHOOL 2017

The International Summer Camp’17 organized by IMCS, was held in Flores Ende, Indonesia from 7th to 17th of July 2017. Being one of my first International exposure, I was excited about the camp, where I could meet people from other places of the world and share a dialogue with them.

Never enough words to could be framed about the beauty of the island-Flores. As well as the traditional warm welcome from the gates of Kupang to our last destination Labuan Bajo. The Indonesians enthralled a feeling of love, kindness and brotherly warmth. The training sessions were indeed insightful, from which we could share a lot of input and all the participants took active part in all group discussions and exposures which were being organized. The camp included training about Human Rights and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

SDG 4 which was Quality of education: We were given the task of building a local high school and also for painting it. Whereas, on SDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation: We were taken across for field visits to engage with the local community to learn about their water sources and help raise awareness on the waste crisis and recycling. On SDG 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth: We had to visit a small village where the victims of human trafficking resided. We acknowledged their experiences and studied them so we could use these case studies to advocate and give a hand in preventing this from happening in the future. The best example which I witnessed was the exchange interfaith dialogue between Catholics and Muslims by taking part in building the local mosque to promote peace among the locals of the island.

Being a part of the media commission I was able to imbibe few skills such as photography. As media is the tool used for communicating among people living in different parts of the world. Therefore, during the training programme Social Media’s like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram were used as a medium to share what’s happening in the summer school.

Cultural night was one of the most gala event of the Summer School as various cultures were being represented on stage! Participants from various countries were dressed in their traditional attire. Meanwhile we got to see different dance forms of Indonesian culture. The tunes of the song ‘Mogie’ still echo in my head.

I believe future is in the hands of the youth and youth have the capacity to bring the change in the society keeping in mind solidarity among them and youth can promote peace and harmony in the society.

As our friend Mr. Franklin D. Roosevelt says, “We cannot always build the future for our youth, But We can build our youth for the future.”

ALIDA RODRIGUES
AICUF-INDIA

EAP 2017: Human rights issues of the migrant

My Reflection on EAP 2017: Human rights issues of the migrant workers

Hello everyone, I’m James (Wu Hsuan-Yi) from Taiwan. East Asia Programme(EAP) was a brand new experience for me since it is the first time I attended an international event organized by IMCS and hosted by CCUSA Taiwan, which brought students together from Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, and us–Taiwan to share ideas about an important issue. The topic of EAP in this year was “Human rights issues of the migrant workers”. As a resident of Taiwan, I believe we are not familiar with this theme. It’s easy to find many foreign laborers appear in some urban areas with different appearance, dresses…etc.

We can see them gathering in some transportation station. However, their words are not what we have learned, their staples are not what we usually consuming as well, as if there’s a river but streaming with different colors of water. The only thing people know is that they came overseas to a strange land and doing the lowest level of work in order to survive. Some people rule out them because   they look different, or even judge them with discriminatory comments, and try to avoid them as far as they can.

Perhaps they have never thought that these foreign workers are burdened with a great expectation from their homeland therefore they came over to Taiwan accepting these physically challenging and dangerous jobs. Some people expect to earn some money to use for their brothers and sisters’ higher-level education institutions; Some women are pregnant in a young age, and since their irresponsible husband flee away, so they are forced to work abroad to support their son or daughter. When their children grow up, they might not even recognize their mom because they have been separated from each other for a long time that the impression of mother has gradually been blurred. Some people were even too fearful of poverty.

Their parents couldn’t know the feeling of using proper bath for half of their lifetime, the convenience of electricity for the night, not to mention protection from the natural disasters since they can’t build a secure shelter due to their poverty level. Therefore, they came to Taiwan with a strong determination to work hard, for the sake of improving the life of their families. After that, they have to suffer from the government’s rule which limits their ability to engage in jobs. Moreover, they are being exploited by their employers based on some disadvantage in the contract. And they can easily be mistreated by the family that they are taking care of as a result of some communication barriers or other reasons. On the other hand, it takes time for us that having well cared in Taiwan to understand those miserable experiences, rather than criticized from the appearance that saying “Foreign workers will come here to steal Taiwanese’ working chances, they are all gyroscopes” What if one day you are going to do their job, can you achieve it? Well I put a strong doubt for that.

To me, although they are doing the easiest rough works, their attitude is better than any nobles in Taiwan. They are not only outstanding brothers and sisters, parents, but also marvelous model workers, because the paid determination and effort for sure. I am looking forward that members who participated in this EAP can teach more people to treat migrant workers with giving respects and empathize. Perhaps we can also spend some time to chat with these foreign workers, to understand their culture, customs, and so on.

For the EAP program this year, I appreciate a lot for inviting many Catholic clergies which engaging in migrant workers’ issue to come and gave knowledgeable lectures in order to helps us to get familiar with nowadays’ situation. Furthermore, I really thankful that my cousin Grace Wang who introduced this activity to me so that I can broaden my horizons and make many new friends from other countries, my Taiwanese teammates and staffs that contribute their best to demonstrate Taiwanese’ enthusiastic spirits. And finally, I thank IMCS Asia Pacific coordinator Ravi Tissera who did many educational sharing’s with me during this camp. To be brief, I think I did gain a great reward. May the Lord bless all of us, best wishes~

PMKRI meet Indonesian President

PMKRI and Indonesian President discussed about the current situation of Indonesia

Article by Tomson Sabungan Silalahi,
Research, Analytics and Development Commission of PMKRI

The President of Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo welcomed The National Board of PMKRI in The National Palace, Jakarta, Tuesday (22/8).

The closed meeting discussed about the situations of Indonesia. Firstly, Joko Widodo thanked PMKRI for the dedication to keep NKRI (Republic of United Indonesia) united. He asked to spread positive contents and messages in all occasion and all social media as he realized that nowadays there are many negative contents and messages such as slander, harsh talk, pessimist and hoax.

About the new legislation No. 2/2017 (about Civic Organization) he said; it was made to keep Indonesia safe from the extremism, now and future. In addition to this, we have to work together to overcome radicalism and terrorism, poverty and inequalities.

Then he gave the chance to PMKRI to give their views and Angelo as the representative of National Board of PMKRI  thanked the President for having them and delivered the greetings from the alumnies of PMKRI. Angelo also convey that PMKRI support the decision made by the President to counter extremism. He further commented that the history of our struggles fighting the colonization cannot be changed where it involved all groups of people, religion, culture and believe to get freedom from the colonizer and no one group has the right to change the way of live, the Pancasila.

Looking at the development of infrastructure increasingly improved in Indonesia especially in the border areas, in the era of President Jokowi administration, Angelo gave his appreciation to the President also above the development of infrastructure in Indonesia especially in border areas of Indonesia.

The President replied to the National Board that the border areas and the far most island are left behind but now he is trying to make it better, for example the he said in the past the price of fuel oil in those areas reached Rp 80.000,00 to Rp 100.000,00 per liter in very long time but now the price have been standardize throughout the whole of Indonesia. The president added that he was ashamed about the lag and he is trying to improve the situation.

The President reminded all the young generation that of Indonesian is smart. He found many young Indonesian do their best in all the fields. We are not brainless; we have to change the old mindset to new one. In 2045 the economic power of Indonesia will be in number 4 in the world after China, India and America. We hand and hand can reach it. Be optimistic, hopefully there will no political turbulence. The president end the conversation saying, now we should concentrate in the infrastructure, human resources, industry and services and technology,

In this occasion, the National Board invited the President to open the PMKRI National Assembly in Palembang, January 2018. The President received invitation and he will attempt to come. Hopefully.

May Thy Will Be Done

MAY THY WILL BE DONE Father..

A call will be real when we say “Yes” to God’s will as what Mother Mary did.

“Guide me to walk in Thy will, and teach me more about you; Thou art the Lord my Savior forever. I am here Father, use me according to Your will … “

My personal experience of the program “Laudato si” in Action AS  organised by IMCS Pax Romana in Bangalore, India on 20 – 28 May 2017

Thank you Lord Jesus, You know me thoroughly.

I am blessed with the opportunity to follow this program because all my questions about the IMCS program have been answered. The wonderful opportunity for me to follow the Laudato Si in Action programme is not wasted as it has given me  new awareness and has changed me from being passive to being more conscious and concerned towards issue  politics, economics, education, culture and social issues especially in Malaysia.

During the program, many sessions were conducted like Laudato Si in Action ( Fr Jojo Fung, SJ) Climate Change Research in Asia (Dr Noelyn Dano), Climate Change and Food Sovereignty (Ms Myrna Dominguez), Global Warming (FR Kasi Rayappa), Environment Conservation Strategies (Mr Leo Saldanha), Citizen Journalism (Prof Mark Rasquinha), Exposure and Eco Spirituality (Fr Robert Arthical, SJ). These sessions opened my eyes and mind on how faith and reality should be practiced together in mission.

In a few session, I was touched with the words which was said Fr Jojo  who said “If all races were united from the start to care for the environment as how God wanted, surely the world will not experience such destruction as we see today. Climate change is a consequence of human behaviour whom do not understand and are unaware of their responsibilities to care for God’s creation. Laodato Si in Action says very clearly that the world is not our property but God’s.

In the session “Climate Change and Food Sovereignty and Eco Spirituality”, I gained awareness on how important it is to change my behaviour from “EGO” to “ECO” so we can overcome the climate change crisis. Through “ECO”, I now understand who I am and my relationship with the environment. This session  reminds  me that one way to overcome climate change is to take action as real a Catholic who lives like Christ.

My awareness was  strengthen by the exposure programme which made me to think and reflect and become more aware that life and  the environment are both interconnected. Throughout the exposure program, I silenced myself, listening, experiencing, observing the surrounding situation of the exposure place, while at the same time I reflecting about my attitude towards the environment back home. With this, I have learned many things and I need to to change myself to be person of ECO and live the call to serve as a Catholic youth.

This program also thought me that as a youth of Asia Pacific, to always voice out justice and peace as written in Catholic Social Teachings. Besides that, we were exposed to a methodology called Web Chart Analysis to find the root cause of the complex climate change problem  and find effective solutions together.

One of the most valuable experience gained from this IMCS program is meeting youth from different Asia Pacific countries, which helped motivate me to be consistently concerned on current issues especially in Malaysia. They have also brought me closer to Jesus. Other than that, I also got to know more about the different and unique cultures of the participants during the cultural night.

 COMMITMENTS NEEDED TO BE MADE AFTER THE LAUDATO SI IN ACTION PROGRAMME

In this program, we were invited to make our commitment to action after this Laudato Si in Action program. A number of collective commitments were raised but I choose three life commitments which  are not wasting food, reduce eating meat and to take immediate action . After making the commitments, I was given 3 wristbands to be used every day to remind me of my chosen commitments.

Commitment to myself after following this program …

Jesus said, “Everything that you do for one of my most despicable brothers, you have done for me.” Many  faithful people are moved by this verse.

After the Laudato Si in Action program finished, a question arose in my heart “What does He( Jesus) want me to do next?” This question arises because I felt that if I don’t take follow up action, I have wasted my participation in the programme. Furthermore, I have sacrificed my time, energy, money and much more to follow this program. After reflection  and prayed, my conscience finally gave me a clear answer that what I saw, heard and experienced during the program had to be lived.

So, I first chose to go deeper into the Gospel before I approache my local enviroment by studying the issues discussed in the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu PAX Assembly in 2015. Through this study, many things I have learned and need to take action wisely to address the three key issues that were identified and are critical today.

Why have I chosen to go deeper into the Gospel and reality (Church Social Teachings)? Because I really believe in the power of the Gospel and reality, that one can change the world like St. Francis of Assisi did. The Gospel also says “…for the Mighty One has done great things for me– holy is his name.” Luke 1:49

My Hope towards myself and for the youth today

Pope Francis said in the book Docat, “If until today there are Christians who do not care about the needs of the poorest of the poor, it is clear that he is not a Christian.”

My hope for myself is to continue getting closer and learning about Jesus so to change from Ego to ECO. Through a closer relationship with Jesus, I am confident that I will continuously be  concerned about matters around me. In addition, I also hope that I will always live out what is contained in the Laudato Si in Action and DOCAT says as this book helps me to see the world together with all the concerns and realities of today. This book also guides me to change and grow in values to do something small for the well being of the world, especially in my own home. This book also teaches me to live up to the Church’s Social Teachings that lead to charity.

As I hoped for myself, so is my expectations for today’s youth. Be active and always caring and aware of what’s happening around us, especially current issues in politics, economics, social, education and culture. This is because through awareness and attentiveness, we learn something that is expressed and implied in current issues. Let’s unite for the sake of justice and humanity, especially for the poorest among the poor. We are the Church and we are the one who will make sure whether the Church is alive or not.

The book “Social Teachings of the Church” teaches us about the principles of life namely People, Kindness, Solidarity and Subsidiarity. Let us live out the principles of life so that we can become  Catholic Christian youth who truly lives according to God’s will. Amen!

“Holy Father Frances called on the youths to make Mother Mary as a model of prayer who lived according to the “Eucharist” learning how to be grateful, prayful and hopeful despite the problems and difficulties in life.”

Alex Paulus Jiran
Youth of St Edmund Parish, Kota Belud

A Learning Reflection of Asia Pacific Council 2017 by Jenny Toppo

An international student camp was held in Bangalore, India. Student representatives were present in this camp and I had opportunity to meet and interact closely with the students and activists from other countries.

                       It was imperative that students from all parts of Asian countries participated actively in all relevant of decision- making process because it affects their lives today and has implications for their futures. In addition to their intellectual contribution and their ability to mobilize support, they brought unique perspectives that need to be taken into account.

            From group activities I learnt that the environmental problems in other countries are no less than ours. Strengthening the participation of youth in environmental protection is partly a matter of increasing opportunities in governmental organisation, established NGOs and restoration projects; partly a matter of student themselves devising new forms of action, as the preceding example of innovative activism made clear; and partly question  of more effective environmental education and media presentation of environmental issues.

                The cultural night was very enjoyable as we saw each other’s colourful culture, their costumes etc. All the sessions of the camp were interrelated and did justice to the theme of the camp. It has been argued that a focus on the global environment is important because it helps to control for displacement across place. However, global aggregates obscure important local variations, which are substantial. Both environmental well-being and environmental stress are distributed unequally across globe, meaning that issues of distributive justice intersect with environmental concerns.

                  After all this deep study about the camp thing which bothers me is, why has environmental education so far failed to deliver the anticipated benefits? Part of the reason may lie in the kind of education delivered. According to my thought the real problem may not lie in the kind of environmental education being promoted, but rather in the difficulty involved in translating the environmental values commitments into action of any kind, be it terms of lifestyle adjustments or political activism. If so, the right kind of environmental education may not be enough to make much difference.

                       It’s around the time of the year that my mind feels most like a cool deep lake, a place where there is plenty of sustenance and the clarity is remarkably inviting. I say this because I had distinct pleasure to attend the Asia Pacific Council camp and I can’t even express the words of appreciation and admiration I have for this camp. I have feebly attempted to explain my thoughts. I have written this in hope that when I am old and grey, my memory of camp will never fade…….

Visit to IMCS Nepal

Mr. Ruki Fernando, lay chaplain of IMCS Asia Pacific paid visit to IMCS Nepal and conducted a half day orientation as well as interaction session for the members of IMCS Nepal. Orientation was mainly focused on Spirituality and Identity of IMCS. Ten members actively participated and benefited a lot from the program.

Mr. Ruki explained on the history, role and structure of IMCS. He also provided opportunity for us to discus about issues pertaining to students and church in which he divided us into two groups for the discussion. Each group were given a topic to discuss and then from the group discussion, we presented the issues in regards to the students and church in Nepal to the whole group. From the issues presented Mr Ruki, gave us various ideas on how to tackle it. Since, being newly formed group, he said that working on these issues can be the road map to move forward for the group.

From these sessions, we got clear perspective and vision about being IMCS member and the role we have to perform. We came to realization that the spirituality and the action should go hand in hand and he told us to explore ourselves with discussion and debates. Mr. Ruki used parables from Bible and clarified about the spirituality and made us aware about our responsibility towards students, church and society.

Probably this program was the first where we discussed about the issues, as compared before where we were only limited with mass. Everyone got opportunity to put their views which made us to know each other very well and know capacity of our group. This program gave us the “We” feeling.

Ecological Conversation – All Gujarat Students Development Movement, india

An Ecology Camp was organized by the A.G.S.D.M (All Gujarat Students Development Movement) at Ashadeep – Human Development Centre, Vallabh Vidyanagar Gujarat on Sunday 23rd July, 2017. Trupti, Priyal, Nikunj, Ketan and Ratnadeep were mainly responsible for organizing the camp as a follow up  of the International Environmental  Workshop, “Laudato Si in Action”, which they five attended at Indian Social Institute Bangalore.  The first activity was the registration done by the youth.

The camp began seeking the blessings of the Almighty. Ketan shared some information on ‘Food sovereignty’. The points he raised was on how the farmer was getting less procurement price for his produce.  This phenomenon leads to frustration among the farmers who had taken huge loans and were unable to repay those loans leading to suicides. He also explained to the group that the amount paid for the food we buy from the market is proportionally much greater than the actual price. By providing examples Ketan’s message was well received by all.  Finally, it meant that the poor are the most affected.  This led to interactions among the participants,

Trupti Parmar spoke about ‘Global Warming’.  She dwelt upon how people were polluting the land, air and water. This is something we have experienced as we have seen this around us. There is an excessive use of Plastic which has replaced paper and cloth bags. The misuse of polluting vehicles has choked up the cities. Many trees have been cut down to broaden the highways. This has harmed our environment.

Ratnadeep Macwana explained about ‘Climate Change’.  He interacted with the youth and made his talk interesting. He spoke about ‘Laudata Si’ the Holy Father’s encyclical which was appreciated worldwide. Pope Francis had through his book had given a clear message that God created the nature and human beings alike. We as his creation ought to preserve and save Our Common Home (Earth). We as human being are responsible for what we are experiencing today. Through the discussions the participants were made aware that they are equally responsible in nurturing Mother Earth. It was due to our lack of interest and irresponsibility that we are feeling the effects of Global warming.  There are many organizations who are involved not only in organizing tree planting programs but are challenging those forces that are actually indulging in harmful activities resulting in creating damage not only to nature but to the all of humankind.

After a short break time, a few participants shared their experiences through which they expressed their desire that the youth get more involved in showing their concern and taking care of the environment.  One of them spoke about air pollution and the hazards it poses on our health.

We also conducted two activities in which the youth wrote and drew some beautiful and inspiring messages and on the need to nurture and save the environment.

We then had the tree plantation ceremony in the open plot. We planted around ten saplings mainly medicinal plants.

The team strongly felt that the outcome of our experience at Bangalore led us to organize the one day camp, with the aim of imparting information and creating awareness among the youth, on the dire need of caring and nurturing Mother Earth.

 

 

 

Yahweh! the God of Indigenous

By Sana Mariam

“Sana Mariam, is a graduate in Social and Cultural Studies from University of the Punjab. She is a former member from IMCS Pakistan. Through this article she’s sharing her experience of spirituality of Indigenous people of Philippines.”

The mighty, the creator, the provider, the healer, all of these characteristics belongs of the God All things were made to glorify Him. The trees the mountains the lake all things are filled with Gods spirits. Each passing moment they are praising and glorifying Him. Living experience with Indigenous (AETA community) from 12 June to 25th June is a close encounter with God and His people. Experiencing” Yahweh” in all his majestic power. There, I felt a deep conversion inside me. Where my all fears turn into strength, my worries into victory, My anxieties into amusements. Climbing the mountain is a life living reflection in itself already. Some time we walk under the sun very happily without knowing the miseries of life on the way because it seems so beautiful from afar. When we start walking then we realize its tiring and it’s not that easy there are ups and downs. We stop in the journey of life, take a rest, sometimes we continue walking even though its hard.Sometimes we need a hand to push us up, sometimes even cry and think to give up. That time kind word from a companion can boost up the energies and make you continue and not to forget the mission and purpose of life.

We the so called Literary “literate world” claims all the intelligence and knowledge belong to us. The small world of indigenous peoples still holds the treasure of wisdom simplicity though mystical in nature. The beliefs in the spirit in that’s all the spirits are sacred and everything has a spirit is a way of respecting life (the breath of life from GOD)whereas this respect brings a question mark for the oneness of the GOD for the modern religion. Wherein the book of Genesis supports the idea where God sees everything and he said its good. Everything is good because it is filled with his spirit. God’s spirit is within all the creation therefore they are all sacred and must be respected with love and reverence. Therefore Pope Francis in His encyclical Laudato Si’ calls our attention toward the Care for creation where all things magnify God’s Holy name. Consequently I find nothing that can challenge the oneness of God. If we give respect to the water, the trees the mountains, the wind and mother earth. Actually they are all life giver. Without air there will be no life, without water there will be no life, without mother earth where shall human kind stand where we will grow and what will we eat. We just need to accept their presence that is essential for us.

I found the mightiness of God. The infiniteness of God. Owns the beauty of all of it. The indigenous peoples are the one holding the wisdom of God in all His purity and simplicity, All the majestic power. I find myself so limited. My teachings were God stay/live just in the defined places like churches and the blessed sacraments. Indigenous peoples experience God everywhere. Even in the simple Umpukan (group of people sitting together). Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.Due to our busy life we are forgetting those values, whereas those values are still being practiced by indigenous people.

They are still keeping their values of being together. They are still sharing the cup of joy which reminds me the breaking of bread and communion everyday. Which bring community together. Being a city girl at first it was hard to understand that I was surrounded by the ancestor’s spirit, living in the 21st century one could say its useless to talk about that Moreover: the stories being taught to us through horror movies and dramas, where spirits are bad, they take revenge and disturb Us but knowing all those facts I felt a sense of security among them. Sense of protection, guidance knowing some objects specifically represents those spirits. I was not afraid my faith grew deeper and deeper. I experience sitting under the trees which was specifically residence of ancestral spirits and they did guide our discussion. There I learnt the culture of Respect.

Visiting Mount Pinatubo The sacred mountain where the Apo Namalyari (Creator-God of the Aeta) resides the experience is very challenging to put into words. It cannot describe in words where someone find oneself so small under the majesty of God. The breeze over the deep blue water and the mighty mountains automatically brings me to the prayer mode when I want to praise and worship God, the vastness of the nature is so clear though deep that I want to be lost and be one with nature in her immense beauty. What If I die today and God ask me; how was Heaven?The beauty of the deep blue wavy sea surrounded by the majestic mountains towering into the blue sky bring me to the depth of the Mighty One where God dwell with all divine majesty and beauty and where frail humans like me can dive deep down in himself consequently finding inner peace.

We become so private nowadays so much so that everyone has created her/his own God. And religion is just trying to impose over other religion. This is my God and these are God’s characteristics.Moreover my God/Religion is more powerful than yours. At least among the Aeta’s they are practicing the universal God that is everywhere. The rituals and practices being practiced since centuries immemorial have been transforming of the “civilized” cultures, with the same sense of reverence of the spirits that makes the Aeta community unique. The uniqueness stands out first of all in the rituals of praying with songs and dancing around the fire, and second, the (Umpukan) brings about the strong community spirits among the Aeta. Caring for each one in the community adds life to the community. Respecting nature, the trees and the fire flies, mother earth, the sun the moon, the stars, the rain, the wind, the thunderstorm are part of their daily lives as they acknowledge the Spirit’s strong presence with them and in a way nature is also communicating with them. Therefore, the Aeta’s culture is respect and reverence of nature which they learn from their elders by communicating with the nature and they continue to experience the rhythm, sacredness, depth and limitation of the land and the mountains, the streams, the deep blue lake, the forests, the moon, sun, the stars, the milky ways and galaxies.

Unfortunately, I found myself so selfish and limited.The community is practicing great values like respecting elders, women and children. And having code of conduct of how to stay together since the time immemorial.

They do have female kapitan/village head. Where my religion my teaching teaches me only my God and my salvation, where in Indigenous Believes in communion, they stay and practice communion. Where there is great love and respect for the women. Which make me thinks and rethink A community practitioner of such a kind values. How comes followers of other than God. I can sense a strong sense of Merciful Father, the protecting brother and the guiding spirit as Holy spirit. Where the whole concept of Trinity meet.

Unfortunately,the Government of Philippines under the tourism department open this sacred place for tourism. Where people are not given proper orientation how to pay respect to this sacred Place. Secondly The Indigenous Peoples are losing their land because of some political interests and of course the money which serves as a “God/Idol” for some. Through the given exposure I wish and pray for Indigenous peoples for their strong hold on their ancestral land where they can live dignified life. Moreover, I hope and wish that they can grow in their faith in Apo Namalyari, the ninunu and anito through the gospel of creation and umpukan.

At the end I want to make a request to all the readers to pay respect if you are visiting those sacred places because God Is everywhere and you never know when will you encounter God and when God will encounter you.