Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

50th SIGNIS Indonesia Assembly 2024: Learning Pastoral Ecology from the Diocese of Ruteng

The 50th SIGNIS Indonesia Assembly 2024 carried the theme of Media and Pastoral Integral Ecology: Walking Together to Build a Whole and Harmonious Natural Creation. This theme was in line with the pastoral focus of the Diocese of Ruteng, which hosted the meeting, attended by 32 members of SIGNIS Indonesia. Msgr. Kornelius Sipayung OFM Cap., Bishop of the Social Communications Commission of the Indonesian Catholic Bishops’ Conference was also present in this occasion. The meeting was held at the Mary Mother of Carmel Retreat House, Wae Lengkas, Ruteng, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia on Monday – Thursday (24-27 June).

Regarding to the theme, the Diocese of Ruteng is concerned about the ecological crisis occurring in its region. Chairman of the Ruteng Diocese’s Caritas Commission, RD Benediktus Gaguk explained, “Massive (strong) pollution in the air, sea, land and carbon emissions. Food waste piled up everywhere. There are environmental damage such as forests, coral reefs, agricultural land, coasts, global warming crisis and climate change. These issues are also a global concern.”

All of these issues create a food crisis that risk human and animal health, such as stunting. Humans, he said, are the main cause of the ecological crisis. “Humans see nature as an exploitative object to fulfil humans’ needs and lifestyles which are materialistic, consumptive, and hedonistic.”

Bishop Sipayung said that such people are dangerous. He quoted the closing sentence of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, Laudate Deum. “When humans take the role of God, they become their own worst enemies.” Humans take the role of God through crimes against natural creation. “By exploiting nature,” he said.

In response to this, SIGNIS Indonesia members learned from the Diocese of Ruteng. From Manggarai Culture, the culture of the Diocese of Ruteng, they see the universe as a mother whose womb gives life for free and unlimited.

“The Manggarai people call the cosmos as awang agu tara lino or sky and earth. They see all creation like a giant spider web, which is connected to each other by threads of orderly, sacred and harmonious mysterious communication,” Fr. Benediktus explained.

As an effort to preserve the environment, SIGNIS Indonesia planted SIGNIS Trees, which consist of avocado and flamboyant trees.

50th SIGNIS Indonesia Assembly 2024 discussed many things, including financial independence of members, projects for member and join production, acceptance of new members, as well as several revisions to the basic articles of SIGNIS Indonesia’s bylaws.

** by Kristiana Rinawati, Archdiocese of Palembang