Reflections on the launch of River Above Asia Oceania Ecclesial Network

Reflections on Forests, Oceans, and Cultures

Representatives from communities in Asia and Oceania shared realities, challenges, initiatives, and opportunities in their respective contexts during the RAOEN virtual launch. Below are their stories:

Sr Makareta Tawaroa – New Zealand

Yeni Kristanti – Indonesia

Rosalyn – Myanmar

Somnuek – Thailand

Message from  Auimatagi Joe Moeono-Kolio, Greenpeace International Head of Pacific, during the virtual launch of RAOEN.

“I see we are all affected by what is happening to mother earth. This helps me to realize that we are united in a way. We are in the same region, we are in the same experience. This calls us to respond in a way that unites us in caring. How can we begin a kind of network that will bring out what we have in our region? How can we be united in our response?”

Cardinal John Ribat

Archbishop of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

“South-south relations are important. In 2010, we organized in Vatican a meeting on climate change. It was the first step forward. Then we supported FABC on climate change. In COP21, we were together with REPAM in organizing a meeting. We then supported REBAC, for Congo to be included. The challenge is how to include Asia and Oceania. As FABC prepares for its 50th year anniversary, learning from the experience in Latin America, how can we bring in Laudato Si’? What can vulnerable Asian nations say to rich countries in the region?”

Monsignor Josef Sayer

“We represent universality, unity in diversity, a confluence of rivers, processes, lives. We need a huge common embrace, of God, one another, and mother earth. It truly takes a village to put this together.”

Cardinal Pedro Barreto Jimeno

Archbishop of Huancayo, Vice President of REPAM

“Churches work at the community level. They know where are the people and where they are vulnerable and what can be done. Asia is very religious. If we work through different religious leaders, we can really build up. This is why FABC and FCBCO are important and can give a voice to what is happening on the ground. How do we get communities to say what they need and respond accordingly? Where institutionally does the church want to connect, accompany, support? How can Bishops bring this voice so that it can become the voice of the Church?”

Pedro Walpole SJ

Global Coordinator, Ecojesuit

“You have to enter in a dialogue knowing who you are. You cannot enter into dialogue by pretending to be somebody else. You have to be secure in your identity. The clarity in identity and mission enables a Christian to listen well, listen with appreciation, with discernment towards the other. Start where we are united, what we hold in common, then from there calmly talk about divergence. Diversity can be a richness of wealth. Appreciate where we differ, be honest in expressing where we diverge, to find points of convergence.“

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle

Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples