Vigil for a Real Deal

VIVAT Members’ Response to the UN Climate Change Conference at Copenhagen

By Paul Rahmat, SVD

Millions of world citizens around the world organized thousands of vigil events relating to the UN World Conference on climate change being held on 7-18 December 2009 in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark.

vivat-copenhagen-1In solidarity with the global community, VIVAT members in Surabaya, Indonesia held a vigil event at Saturday evening, on Dec. 12, 2009 in Catholic Hospital chapel of St. Vincent a Paulo. The event was organized by JPIC Commission of SVD & SSpS Java Province and highlighted a theme for global action on climate change: “The World wants a real deal – fair, ambitious and binding treaty now.” At least 175 attendees participated in that event including students and the SVD-SSpS’s lay people associations of SOVERDI and PARK around the city of Surabaya.

The vigils began with a brief story on climate change presented by Fr. Josef GLINKA SVD; then the participants observed a ritual ceremony with Taize prayer’s style while listening to the creation tale from the Book of Genesis, praying psalms and reflecting some thematic citations of environment being taken from Catholic Social Teaching. The peak of the event was candlelight procession following a symbolic ritual of pouring salts and water as signs of sorrow and tears of life and hope for the world as well as ringing the gong (bell) as a symbol of alertness for the climate change. The symbols are so powerful in which animate and encourage people to listen to the voice of the mother earth who are speaking to us through a language of climate change and global warming.vivat-copenhagen-2

We hope that the ritual act of vigils will be followed by a real act of planting trees in coming years as the recent chapter of SVD Java Province has underpinned a resolution for engaging in eco-pastoral, especially in Kalimantan. *