Message for Overseas Aid Sunday 2020
One Human Family, One Common Home
For last two years, the Catholic Church in Korea, through Caritas Korea International, has striven to make a safe and comfortable ‘home’ for migrants and refugees who fled their own homes and lands. This year, 2020, the Catholic Church in Korea, promoting the theme ‘One Human Family, One Common Home,’ is committed to responding to the cry of the poor who suffer as a consequence of our human-made ecological crisis.
Pope Francis, in his encyclical letter, Laudato Si’ issued in 2015, called the earth ‘our common home’ which sustains our lives. He appealed to all to pay attention to what is happening to our common home: the destruction of the natural environment (cf. chapter one). He also urged us not to ignore the poor who groan in pain on the brink of ecological devastation. He affirmed that the ecological crisis evokes “both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” (n.49).
The lives of the poor, especially their children, are threatened by climate change which, in turn, causes frequent floods, droughts, and extreme temperature fluctuations. The poor have no financial resources to defend themselves from the impact of climate change. People are recklessly dumping highly toxic waste onto the land in underdeveloped countries and exploiting natural resources in an unsustainable manner. Consequently, forests are razed and rivers pollute; lands which once produced abundant harvests are barren now. In such a situation it is also increasingly difficult for the poor to find clean water. In this environmental crisis, the poor are forced to leave their homes, losing everything, and as migrants and refugees they are forced to endure the extreme hardships of life.
The worst impact of ecological crisis is felt by the poor, although they are the least responsible for causing it. The poor who live in underdeveloped countries in Aisa, Africa, and Latin America cry out for help ever more loudly.
Dear Catholic faithful of Korea, I ask you to respond to the cry of the afflicted who dwell in our ‘common home,’ and to participate in the mission which spreads the love of Christ who heals our wounds.
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11,28). I hope that this blissful message of Christ can be delivered to the poor who, on a daily basis, struggle to survive the many threats caused by our ecological crisis.
January 26, 2020
+ Lucas Kim Woon-hoe
Bishop of Chunchon
Chairperson of the Caritas Korea International