Creating a space for synodality through a dialogue between local voices and Church and ecumenical leaders strengthens collaborations and commitments amongst groups with a common desire to care for the oceans and forests, and in the peripheral communities of Oceania and Asia, the cry of the Earth and cry of the poor are most deeply felt.
Small Island States are experiencing sea-level rise, sea-bed mining, and extreme weather events. Similarly in Asia, climate events impact vulnerable communities that continue to see destruction in its forests, coastal areas, and the greater biodiversity that sustain all lives. As communities struggle to adapt, global efforts need to address these problems at the core.
These concerns are interconnected by way of the “river above” which is the Pacific Ocean – the life, the river of Asia feeding all rivers, seasons and lives. The surface area and ocean currents absorb energy and generate thermals and other air flows, forming the weather patterns and events while sustaining their movement westward. This flow is life-giving and life-taking, especially as the climate is changing and resources are being exhausted.
Addressing these concerns will only be possible if Oceania and Asia act together.
Seeking to renew its vision and commitment towards a Church that listens and dialogues, the River above Asia Oceania Ecclesial Network (RAOEN) is organizing a virtual event to listen to the voices of synodality in Oceania and Asia titled Ecclesial Synodality in the Shared Mission of Oceania and Asia, in collaboration with the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference (FABC), the Federation of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Oceania (FCBCO), the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Caritas, the Columban Missionaries, and the Ecclesial Networks Alliance.
Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops will share on synodality and the new ways of being Church, and Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, FABC President, and Archbishop Peter Loy Chong, FCBCO President will speak about the urgent call for care of the ocean and forests and the need to listen to the peoples and spirits of Oceania and Asia.
Synodality literally means “walking together” and Pope Francis emphasizes the value of synodality and the inclusion of ecumenical movements as key in the future of the Church. “It is important to acknowledge with joy that, in our time, ecumenical dialogue has come to recognize synodality as something that reveals the nature of the Church, something essential to its unity in the variety of its manifestations.” (from Synodality in the Life and Mission of the Church, 116)
The RAOEN event Ecclesial Synodality in the Shared Mission of Oceania and Asia is on 29 September 2021, Wednesday, at 9:00am Rome, 1:00pm Dhaka, 3:00pm Manila, 7:00pm Suva, 8:00pm Apia. To register, please click on this link.