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bookmark_borderASIA/CAMBODIA – Catholics and Buddhists celebrate the “Time of Creation” together

Battambang – In Cambodia the “Time of Creation” is a fruitful opportunity to develop dialogue, friendship and deep interreligious relations between Christians and Buddhists. As Fides learned, from September 1st, Catholic priests and Cambodian Buddhist monks began to meet and plant trees together to celebrate the “Day of Prayer for the Environment” and the special season in which, at a universal level, Christians place the emphasis on safeguarding creation. “We all have the responsibility to protect the Common Home in which we live”, says Mgr. Enrique Figaredo, Apostolic Prefect of Battambang, inviting everyone to celebrate the “Time of Creation”, period from September 1st to October 4th, in line with the Encyclical “Laudato Sì” by Pope Francis, 2015, on the care of the common Home.
In the Apostolic Prefecture of Battambang, in the northwest of Cambodia, about 300 kilometers from the capital Phnom Penh, “we live the joyful experience of collaborating with Buddhist monks for the good of the environment, of society, side by side, united for a better future”, said Mgr. Figaredo. For five years, on the occasion of the “Time of Creation”, Catholics and Buddhists have taken this initiative to take care of the territory and to give an example to all citizens, of any religious creed. “We need a greater commitment on our part and at the same time it is important to educate young people to carry out this same commitment”, notes Mgr. Figaredo. “It is a question of love for life: if we love our life and that of our neighbor, we must protect and take care of the environment as it is a gift we have received from God, it is the work of his hands”, he said. “Even though we have different faiths, nationalities, ethnic groups and cultures, we are human beings, all called to work together for unity and solidarity”, he said.
In Cambodia in particular, collaboration for the protection of the natural environment and creation “is also a way to promote peace, solidarity and understanding between all of us”, notes the Prefect. With this spirit, the Prefecture of Battambang simultaneously celebrates the “Day of Interreligious Dialogue” in September, with accents and initiatives that touch and involve the “Time of Creation”.

bookmark_borderASIA/THAILAND – Evangelization and dialogue with Buddhists in the north of the country, for the common good

Bangkok – “It is important to continue the dialogue of life between Catholics and Buddhists in Thailand”, says Mgr. Anthony Weradet Chaiseri, Archbishop of Thare and Nonseng, in the north-eastern region of Thailand, to Fides. The interreligious dialogue between Catholics and Buddhists is an integral part of the pastoral plan of the Catholic Church in Thailand, immersed in a nation and in a cultural and religious environment marked by Buddhism: starting from this observation in recent days, Archbishop Chaiseri met Sutham Suthammo, Buddhist abbot of the Forest Monastery in Kesetsrikhun in Nong Phai.
“The Church wants to promote and strengthen relations with the representatives of the local Buddhist community”, said Mgr. Chaiseri to Fides. “A stronger collaboration with the Buddhist community can help us work together for the common good, peace, harmony and development”, he added. “There is no friction or tension between the Catholic and Buddhist communities in the country because Thai society is open and tolerant, but we need to deepen the collaboration between the two communities of faith”, underlined Mgr. Chairri. Suthammo, a Buddhist monk, said that “the Buddhist community wants to undertake some common development projects to help those in need during the Covid-19 pandemic”, in collaboration with other faith communities. “We look forward to making further joint efforts for mutual understanding and carrying out joint projects that can help people in these difficult times”, he added. Thailand is the second largest Buddhist country in the world after China.
The Catholic mission in Thailand began 350 years ago, in a country with a large Buddhist majority. Of the 69.5 million citizens, almost 95% are Buddhists. Catholics represent less than 1% of the population. - The Best Popunder Adnetwork I nostri audiolibri su Audible