Climate Change – A Sacred Journey through the Congo Forest

In the heart of the Congo Forest, lies a place once unknown Lisala and BASANKUSU but now thrust into the spotlight due to the effects of climate change. Born in the middle of this rich natural tapestry, I find profound joy in returning home for a much-awaited leave, reconnecting with the amazing marvels of God’s creation. At the same time, however, I am confronted with this obvious reality of climate change in the form of vanishing ecosystems and skepticism from those who have not yet seen its impact. I wish to share with you the significance of my homecoming, witnessing the beauty and fragility of nature, and calling upon the Catholic Church and everyone who will come across this article to acknowledge and address the urgent issue of climate change.

Embracing the Sacredness of Nature.

Step by step, as I journey through the wilderness of the Congo Forest, I am reminded of the divine presence that permeates every inch of this sacred land. From the mighty Congo River, carving its way through the dense greenery, to the vibrant assortment of insects, birds, animals, and fish, I am awe-struck by this interconnectedness of God’s creation. It is in these moments of reverence that I recognize the urgent need to protect and preserve this delicate ecosystem for future generations.

Bearing Witness to Climate Change.

Amidst the many wonders I encounter on my homecoming journey, I am confronted by the undeniable signs of climate change. The once peaceful rivers are drying up, their banks shrinking under the weight of prolonged drought. The vibrant array of species that once flourished in harmony now faces a struggle for survival. These undeniable realities demand our attention and compel us to take action. Climate change is not a mythical concept but a devastating reality, and the stories of skeptics must be met with compassion and education.

The Call for Moral Imperative.

As Catholics and people of good will, we are bound by a moral imperative to care for God’s creation. Pope Francis, in his encyclical Laudato Si’, emphasized our responsibility to protect the environment and promote a just and sustainable development for all. This call extends to every faithful Catholic who is called to live in harmony with nature, encouraging a shift towards a more environmentally conscious way of life. The Church plays a pivotal role in raising awareness, advocating for change, and fostering a collective sense of stewardship for our planet.

Educating and Inspiring Change.

It is essential that the Catholic Church takes an active role in educating its followers about climate change and its far-reaching consequences. Through faith-based environmental initiatives, awareness campaigns, and educational programs, the Church can equip its members with knowledge and empower them to take impactful action. By emphasizing our moral duty to care for our earthly home, the Church can motivate individuals and communities to adopt sustainable practices and reduce their carbon footprint.

Advocacy and Collaboration.

The Catholic Church has a unique position of influence, both within the wider global community and at the grassroots level. By influencing these networks and engaging in interfaith collaborations, the Church can advocate for comprehensive climate policy, encourage dialogue, and promote material and spiritual support for communities disproportionately affected by climate change. Through collective action, we can amplify our voices and effect real change, creating a more resilient and sustainable world.

Returning to my birthplace in the Congo Forest provides me with an understanding of the urgency of climate change. As I bear witness to the breathtaking beauty and devastating impact, I am reminded of the sacredness of nature and our inherent responsibility towards its preservation. With a deep sense of faith, I call upon the Catholic Church of Congo and the Church throughout the World to recognize the reality of climate change and engage in proactive advocacy and education. By harnessing the power of its influence, the Church can inspire meaningful action and lead the way towards a more sustainable and just future for all of God’s creation. 

Placide Elia MHM

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