Scholastics at Cedara recently organized a Facebook Live event, Green Chat, to celebrate the Season of Creation. Sch. Sipho MUKOBOLA, one of the organizers and guest speaker writes about the idea behind this initiative.

We raise awareness and educate our Mazenodian family

Ever since my Novitiate year, I have had a deep passion for ecological issues, especially after having learned that the ecological crisis greatly affects the poor. When the Season of creation slowly approached, the idea to incorporate the theme into our liturgy was shared with our community, and it was welcomed. But we thought it wouldn’t be enough to pray with the theme in our liturgy on September 1st. Still, instead, as the article suggested, we raise awareness and educate our Mazenodian family and friends on the invitation of the season of creation. And so, going live on our Facebook page seemed like a great idea to achieve the said goal.

This is what is happening to our Common Home

Over the past few months, temperatures in the North Atlantic have set new records, creating problems for marine life and an increase in temperatures worldwide. Global warming has weakened trade winds from the Sahara Desert, causing less dust to be deposited on the ocean’s surface. About 170 people have died in Northern India and Mexico, respectively, in a scorching heat wave. The Congo Basin rainforest, which contains more than 12,000 different species and provides food, fuel, and shelter for more than 75 million people, has seen a considerable increase in deforestation rates. The reduction of snow caps in Antarctica has resulted in the deaths of an estimated 10,000 emperor penguin chicks. A climate change-fuelled drought has caused severe food shortages in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya, which has caused migrations. This is what is happening to our Common Home.

We are called to join the river of justice and peace

However, not all hope is lost. The season of creation provides an opportunity to make things right. It is an annual ecumenical celebration of prayer and action for our Common Home. It runs from September 1st through October 4th, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology. Pope Francis made this celebration official for the Roman Catholic Church in 2015. The theme for 2023 is “Let Justice and Peace Flow”, with the symbol of a mighty river. The Prophet Amos (5:24) cries out, “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never failing stream!” Accordingly, we are called to join the river of justice and peace, to speak out with and for communities most impacted by climate injustice.

Oblate Scholastics at St. Joseph’s Scholasticate, Cedara

We can sense the maternal heartbeat of the earth

In his message for the 2023 Season of Creation, Pope Francis observes that immersed in creation, we can sense the maternal heartbeat of the earth…harmonizing our own rhythms of life with those of creation. We are further invited to transform our hearts, lifestyles, and the public policies ruling our societies. To let our encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in our relationship with creation around us. How can we hate our brothers and sisters yet claim to love God, whom we do not see?

We must not forget that the cry of the earth is the cry of the poor

We must adopt lifestyles marked by less waste and unnecessary consumption, recycling waste, leading clean-up projects, and using environmentally friendly products and services. Fr. Chicho OMI, on the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, dedicated it to the theme of caring for our Common Home. He reiterated the call for ecological conversion. The Mazenodian family was reminded that “We must not forget that the cry of the earth is the cry of the poor, to whom we give our preference.” The care for our Common Home offers an opportunity to meet the poor. The young people should equally heed the call to environmental protection because the decisions made today concerning environmental issues will significantly affect our future.

Screenshot taken during Green chat on Facebook

This is an opportunity to do something bigger than ourselves

All young people of the Mazenodian family, including us in initial formation, are invited to take a leading role in the care of our Common Home through concrete commitments. The onus is on us, and as Cynthia Houniuhi put it, “this is an opportunity to do something bigger than ourselves, bigger than our fears, something important for our future.”

Click here to follow the Green Chat Live event. 

 Bro. Sipho Blessings MUKOBOLA Jr. is an Oblate Scholastic, originally from Zambia. He is currently doing his first year Theology at Cedara, South Africa.