10/03/2019, 13.23
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Catholic initiatives in favour of ‘integral ecology’ in Ho Chi Minh City

by Paul Nguyen Hung

Caritas Saigon has organised several seminars on Laudato si’. Youth in Hàng Xanh parish have become involved in collecting and reselling recyclable waste to fund useful projects. The city administration has welcomed the Church’s environmental efforts.

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) – Since 2015, the year when the encyclical Laudato si’ was published, Vietnamese Catholics have responded to Pope Francis’ call to adopt "an integral ecology".

In the Archdiocese of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), parishes, religious communities, and ordinary believers have undertaken various initiatives to promote the message found in the pontiff’s second encyclical. For example, local Catholics have participated in and contributed to the Emergency Disaster Relief Fund of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Vietnam (CBCV).

For its part, Caritas Saigon has organised several seminars on Laudato si’, underlining the importance of protecting the living environment of city communities. In Ho Chi Minh City, the Catholic charity has encouraged and worked with other Catholic associations to carry out social activities and charitable work in favour of "our common home".

Similarly, parishes have put in place practical solutions involving education and raising awareness, among Catholics and others, on the topic of environmental protection. In Hàng Xanh parish for instance, youth have collected recyclable waste (paper, plastic, metal and electrical equipment), helping the parish youth ministry to raise funds to support scholarships for poor children and community-based social activities.

Many of Ho Chi Minh City’s parishes have also adopted a recycling model to protect the environment and help charitable works. Called ‘No garbage in the parish’ (Giáo Xứ Không Rác), the model allows Catholics living along the banks of the Nhiễu Lộc canal to adhere to the programme ‘No littering into the canal, no fishing, keeping the canal clean and green’.

Fr Inhaxio Nguyễn Quốc Bảo is the vicar in Thánh Linh parish, District Nine. This year, during Eucharistic celebrations, he has encouraged the faithful to clean up Tăng Nhơn Phú B District, from Phình Phong Phú, a Buddhist place of worship, to the home of Franciscan religious and the Clara monastery.

The priest, who has worked along with volunteers in cleaning up, has also urged his parishioners to get better acquainted with environmental protection information available at the Archdiocese's pastoral centre.

The city administration has welcomed the Church’s environmental efforts. "Activities of environmental protection by Catholic people have helped raise awareness among Catholics about protecting the living environment,” the city said in a statement. “These practical activities educate children and help young people participate in present and future environmental protection initiatives.”

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