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Archbishop To Brief Women On Caring for Environment

Head of the Catholic Church in Fiji, Archbishop Peter Loy Chong will deliberate about the vanua and its cultural tradition at the first workshop of the Catholic Women’s League Conference
18 Aug 2017 11:00
Archbishop To Brief Women On Caring for Environment
Silivia Colaivale (left), and Adi Silivia Nataro polish the chalice and crucifix at the St Peters Parish in Namosi on August 17, 2017. Photo: Jone Luvenitoga

Head of the Catholic Church in Fiji, Archbishop Peter Loy Chong will deliberate about the vanua and its cultural tradition at the first workshop of the Catholic Women’s League Conference in Namosi Village today.

Speaking to the Fiji Sun, Archbishop Chong yesterday said his focus related to Pope Francis X’s message on how Catholics should care for the environment and how human beings have destroyed or abused the environment.

Archbishop Chong said in-relation to the care of the environment; they would use the term care for the vanua and look into what was happening in relation to the bible and the church teachings; what was God’s initial plan for the world, and try to put things according to the plans.

Women of Nacamaki Parish from Koro Island at Namosi on August 17, 2017. Photo: Jone Luvenitoga

Women of Nacamaki Parish from Koro Island at Namosi on August 17, 2017. Photo: Jone Luvenitoga

He said the framework of the vanua was being much talked about because the vanua topic expressed a very holistic view of the earth and its relationship with the land, all creatures of the land compared to the early years of theology where it was only about heaven and earth, salvation and relationship with the world.

He said the vanua framework was like the bible, offering a very integral view of the environment and both traditions needed to be captured.

“I will talk more about the vanua and the role of the turaga ni vanua in this framework. Drawing from studies already done by the Ministry of i-Taukei Affairs and the installation for chiefs and drawing from my interview with Tui Namosi himself about the role of the turaga ni vanua,” Archbishop Chong said,

Speaking on the role of the turaga ni vanua, he said when the chief drank his first bowl of yaqona/ kava at the ritual ceremony of the installation of the chief, it symbolised that he was taking on the role to protect the vanua, the land and everything that grew on the land, the earth and the sea.

“He takes on that responsibility so there is an actual saying that goes ‘turaga ni vanua is only a turaga because of his people. If he does not take on this role nor take responsibility for his people, the land and every living creature to protect them than he is not a good turaga ni vanua,” he said.

Archbishop Chong said chiefs needed to revisit the ritual of installation because the ritual carried values.

He said this was important because it was a language that people could relate to, a language that spoke to the hearts of the people.

Moreover, he said Fiji was a very religious country, where there were Christians, Hindus, Muslims and others. Generally Fiji is a faith based community where there is a need to learn the language that moves people’s hearts.

Following Archbishop Chong’s presentation will be a delivery by Non-Communicable Disease National Adviser Dr Isimeli Tukana.

As of yesterday close to 2000 members of the Catholic Women’s League from 38 parishes had converged at St Peter’s Parish in Namosi for their annual conference which starts today and concludes Sunday.

Archbishop Chong had opened the conference yesterday with a mass.

Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola

Feedback: losirene.lacanivalu@fijisun.com.fj

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