Board members of CHARIS and its affiliates meet for the Affiliate Board Connect 2016, reflecting on how the world cries out.
Article and photo by: Damien Teo
Over 40 participants of various Catholic groups and organisations in Singapore which are involved in overseas humanitarian work gathered for the Affiliates Board Connect (ABC) 2016, a biennial event organised by CHARIS to foster closer ties between its affiliates.
This year’s ABC, themed, “The World Cries Out - Achieving Sustainable Development”, was held at the Catholic Centre on 23 January 2016. It featured a special look into Pope Francis’ latest encyclical, Laudato Si — a subject which proved to be of meaningful and relevant for many participants.
In the encyclical, the Pope writes that he would like to “enter into dialogue with all people about our common home”. ABC 2016 was a continuation of that dialogue with the guest speaker, Prof Michael Quah, a professor at National University of Singapore’s Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, who presented the science behind Laudato Si.
Closer to home than we think
“Did you know that if everyone were to live like a Singaporean, we would require 4.1 Earths?” Prof Quah remarked at the start of his talk.
He highlighted that there is a harmful, throwaway culture in today’s society, even right here in Singapore, and stresses that Pope Francis’ encyclical is really a call to action.
Prof Quah’s talk affirmed the Pope’s writings with graphs and facts to reflect how the world truly cries out, citing evidence to show how these issues are also present in Southeast Asia and the region.
“When the planet deteriorates, it is always the poor who pays first,” Prof Quah cautioned.
Participants then broke into groups to share about their missionary work and to discuss how the Pope’s call to action can be applied to their mission.
Edwin Sim, a CHARIS board member concluded that “The most important goal we hope to achieve is to be able to harness all the different talents in our affiliates. If we can help pull our talents and resources together, I’m sure we can do even more for the many communities we are currently serving”.
Read more articles here: