CJC advocates from FABC, LSAP-Asia and the nine dioceses of Malaysia with their banners during the Entrance procession for Mass to launch PROTEC Year 3 and Season of Creation 2022 at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Kota Kinabalu Aug 31

By Agnes Chai

Sep 6 2022

“WE are called to participate in God’s creation as God’s co-worker.”

Bishop Joseph Hii, President of the Episcopal Commission for Creation Justice (ECCJ) of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei said in no uncertain terms at the launching of PROTEC Year 3 (Protect Our Earth, Protect Our Children Campaign), at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Kota Kinabalu Aug 31.

PROTEC, an initiative in its third year running, endorsed by the Malaysian Bishops for the Malaysian Church, is launched with the theme “Stop Plastic Pollution”, and will run from 1 September 2022 to 31 August 2023.

At the same event, the Season of Creation 2022 was also launched, kicking off a season of celebration from Sep 1, World Day of Prayer for Creation until Oct 4.

Listen to the Voice of Creation” is the theme and invitation of this year’s Season of Creation.

Addressing the “ecological family in Christ” that was assembled at the occasion, the ECCJ President acknowledged the work of the Holy Spirit for gathering the assembly to participate in God’s work of creation.

He underscored “It is this same Spirit that hovers the waters at the beginning of creation (Gen 1:2), that gives life to all creation, and now speaking to us through both the beauty and disaster in creation, the clear and muddy water, the clean and polluted air, the forest and desert, the poor and rich alike.

“As the Holy Father urges, to “listen to the voice of creation” is to “listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit in creation”.

He continued “But sin has made us turn in on the self, making us selfish and egotistic, disconnecting us from creation and deaf to the voice of creation.”

Thus, we need “the Spirit of the Lord to give us a heart of flesh to replace our heart of stone, moving us outward from EGO to ECO, to be inter-connected to all creation and to listen to the voice of Creation.”

Bishop Joseph clearly and forcefully reminded the church of the God-given privilege “to participate in God’s creation as co-worker.”

This year, the three arch/dioceses of Kota Kinabalu, Keningau and Sandakan are taking the lead in jointly organizing the launch events and overseeing the promotion of PROTEC YEAR 3 for the full year.

The national level environmental campaign of PROTEC is aimed at protecting humanity from self-destruction (LS 79) and ensuring intra and intergenerational justice for current and future generations (LS 159 – 162). It runs for five years from 2020 to 2025 with a different theme each year.

The theme for Year One was “Use less electricity”, while for Year Two “Cut down meat, dairy and food waste”.

After Mass dismissal, the people watched a video presentation prepared by the youth-led Eco-Outreach Team, to provide some insights into issues relating to plastic pollution, and the approaches to employ in creating awareness.

The celebrants join the congregation to watch the video presentation before the Mass Dismissal

To officiate the launch, Archbishop John was invited to press the launching button, while Bishop Joseph and Fr Stephen Esquerra revealed two buntings, one each for PROTEC Year 3 and the Season of Creation.

Archbishop John Wong presses the button and officially launches the PROTEC Campaign

Bishop Joseph then handed the PROTEC campaign posters to the representatives of Keningau and Sandakan dioceses for distribution to parishes. The parish representatives of KK Archdiocese collected their posters at the parish hall.

Bishop Joseph Hii presents PROTEC posters to a CJC representative for distribution to parish

Notably present at the launching events were Deepika Sing, coordinator for Climate Change Desk of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conference (FABC) and Clare Westwood, Regional Director ECCJ, who is also the co-chair of Laudato Si Action Platform-Asia (LSAP-Asia), and CJC representatives from the nine dioceses of Malaysia.

Before partaking in the lunch fellowship meal, the people watched a demonstration by NGO, CREATE (Centre for Renewable Energy & Appropriate Technology), to provide some innovation insights into upcycling plastic, such as transforming hard plastic into new materials of economic, environmental or artistic value.

(Top) A demonstration to show how plastic is being upcycled (Bottom) Upcycled plastic being transformed into new material such as micro hydropower turbine

Archbishop John and Bishop Joseph having a closer look at an upcycled plastic micro hydropower turbine and aluminium turbine