For RAOEN, the ENA meeting is an important gathering to listen to unheard voices of local communities from the Oceania-Asia biome, to share perspectives on how the local and universal Church can better accompany communities, and to discern ways to sustain its task of raising the territorial voices with hope while broadening its networking dynamics with other territories.
A critical part of the program is a historical reflection on the Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery with Indigenous Peoples. The document is emerging as a reference point of ecclesial networking, in which territorial representatives will have the space to share their stories.
Voice from Oceania – Dr Leonaitasi Hoponoa
Leonaitasi Hoponoa, a community doctor from the Kingdom of Tonga, shares the realities and psycho-spiritual challenges experienced by the local people that exacerbate their vulnerability to socioecological threats. Pesticide use by the community is increasing, and the traditional ways of removing weeds is being forgotten. He said that deepening faith in a changing world is critical.
Voice from Asia – Alma Lumista
Alma Lumista, from the Pulangiyēn Indigenous Community in Mindanao, Philippines, highlights their spiritual relationship with Creation, and how the Pulangiyēn’s culture teaches them to value all forms of life.
“I am engaging with different Selda groups – a basic ecclesial community or BEC – to encourage us to continue our faith and to always be connected to Selda activities. Through these activities, our understanding broadens to the sacraments we receive so our faith is active beyond Sunday mornings. We hope that the time will come that the church will find ways to be more inclusive of us as Indigenous Peoples and recognize and value our traditions and seasonal practices of gratitude and renewal. We hope that our spiritual needs will be given importance by the church for our faith in God.”