Home Catholic Church & Asia IN PHOTOS: Papal Nuncio invites Thai people to ‘heal and nurture’ environment 

IN PHOTOS: Papal Nuncio invites Thai people to ‘heal and nurture’ environment 

The Apostolic Nuncio to Thailand encouraged the public to leave “a legacy of a healthier planet” by choosing to be individuals who actively respond to the cries of both the poor and the Earth.

“The future is shaped by the choices we make today. Let us choose to be the good people who not only preserve the world but actively heal and nurture it for the benefit of all,” said Archbishop Peter Bryan Wells.

The prelate made this appeal during a ceremony at the Thai Parliament on Feb. 13, which recognized individuals, organizations, and projects promoting environmental protection and echoing the message of Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’.

The event ‘Kon Dee Rak Lok, Good People Preserve the World Award Ceremony,’ organized by the Senate Committee on Religions, Morals, Ethics, Arts and Culture, the Port Authority of Thailand, and the Catholic Association of Thailand, awarded social media videos created by young people on the theme of Laudato Si’.

Adjunct Professor Pornpetch Wichitcholchai (center in purple), President of the Senate of Thailand, presided over ‘Kon Dee Rak Lok’ award ceremony at the Thai Parliament, Feb. 13, 2024. (Photo by Peter Monthienvichienchai / LiCAS News)

Privilege of Care

Archbishop Wells said that the gathering affirms that “hope and action can flourish in the face of the formidable challenge of environmental degradation”.

He expressed that amidst the ecological crisis, “we find the unwavering commitment of the good people we honor today.”

Apostolic Nuncio to Thailand, Archbishop Peter Bryan Wells, addressing the attendees at the “Kon Dee Rak Lok” special exhibition, Thai Parliament, Feb. 13, 2024. (Photo by Peter Monthienvichienchai / LiCAS News)

The prelate emphasized that each award embodies the spirit of love, signifying that demonstrating care for the world is not just a responsibility but also “a privilege and a calling”.

- Newsletter -

He reflected on the pope’s encyclical, stating that there is a great “urgency and necessity” to ‘Care for Our Common Home’ that is “being harmed, plundered, abused, and despoiled”. 

“It cries out for attention. So do so many of the poor and marginalized who are most affected by these changes,” he said, adding that “ignoring cries [of the Poor and Earth] is no longer an option”. 

“The consequences of our inaction are vividly displayed every single day. [The] melting glaciers, rising tides, and erratic climate patterns,” he said.

The prelate lauded the event’s display “of the power of and the need for collective action,” which he said is essential for “an integral ecology, recognizing the interconnectedness of all living beings and the environment”. 

“Beyond technical solutions, it urges us to embrace a holistic vision that encompasses social justice, economic fairness, and cultural diversity,” he said. 

Apostolic Nuncio to Thailand, Archbishop Peter Bryan Wells, cutting the ribbon together with Dr. Dr. Sirina Pawarolanwittaya, Chairman of the Senate Sub-Committee on Morality and Ethics at the “Kon Dee Rak Lok” special exhibition, Thai Parliament, Feb. 13, 2024. (Photo by Nattha Nuchsuwan / LiCAS News)

The Nuncio, however, warned that ecological action does not end with awards and recognition. He said these kinds of events must serve as “launching pads, for further actions”. 

“The stories and work of our awardees should inspire us to step out of our comfort zones, challenge the status quo, and actively participate in healing our planet,” he said.

The prelate urged the public to consider practical steps, such as reducing our carbon footprint through conscious daily choices, embracing sustainable living by conserving water and recycling, and raising awareness about environmental issues while supporting organizations working for solutions.

Youths’ environmental pleas

Among the 13 awardees from over 200 submissions were school children who produced social media content to promote environmental sustainability. A common concern among the youths is the environmental impact of trash and how they are disposed off.

Gianna Grace Techamontrikul, a Grade 4 student from Wellington College, whose Laudato Si’ themed social media video received one of the prizes from the Thai government, said, “I really don’t like it when people throw trash on the beach. I want to help by picking them all up.”

“Our earth is getting hotter and there is so much pollution,” said Kamolchanak Kunpanya, Grade 9, from Darasamut Chachengsao School. “I would like people to take care of our earth by doing what they can to reduce air pollution and generate less trash.”

School children share their pleas for their “common home”

“At my school, much of the trash are thrown together,” bemoaned Pharin Klomdee, Grade 9, Watsangkhajaiten School, “so I would like to have more trash bins to encourage all students to separate trash for recycling.”

“I take my own water flask to school instead of using plastic bottles, “ shared Taksaporn Sathirawutthipong, Grade 10, Wat Khemaphirataram School. “There is only one earth and it’s changing from hot to boiling. Everyone should do whatever they can, how ever small, to help protect it.”

The ‘Kon Dee Rak Lok’ campaign is now in its third year with its reach growing exponentially each year.

“Our target for this event is not those sitting in church,” reflected Surapong Rongsirikul, Chair of the event committee and President of the Catholic Association of Thailand, “but those outside the church. And we can reach them through social media.”

Photos by Nattha Nuchsuwan and Peter Monthienvichienchai
Edited by Mark Saludes

© Copyright LiCAS.news. All rights reserved. Republication of this article without express permission from LiCAS.news is strictly prohibited. For republication rights, please contact us at: [email protected]

Support Our Mission

We work tirelessly each day to tell the stories of those living on the fringe of society in Asia and how the Church in all its forms - be it lay, religious or priests - carries out its mission to support those in need, the neglected and the voiceless.
We need your help to continue our work each day. Make a difference and donate today.