KUCHING — Different from the other traditional Christmas nativity scenes put up in the churches around Kuching, the one in Holy Trinity Church, Kenyalang, carries the theme “Laudato Si’” after the encyclical of Pope Francis on the care for our common home.
The background of the nativity scene shows two distinct scenario.
On the right, the environment is polluted by human activities and is in total darkness except for the lights from the high-rise buildings and the city. The unsustainable development and exploitation of natural resources creates an unfavourable living condition for those who live in the periphery of society.
In contrast, the scene on the left shows the renewal of creation and the bustling of life as the light of the new-born Christ shines through. Human beings live harmoniously with the rest of creation.
“The nativity scene depicts the whole planet earth with the focal point on the Holy Family as Christ was born to save all creation,” said Fr Patrick Heng, the rector of Holy Trinity Parish who came up with the idea of the nativity scene.
“Christ’s light dispels the darkness of the world reflected in the negative impact humanity have made in the destruction of creation,” he explained.
“The birth of Jesus our Saviour reminds us that we are called to be instruments of God our Father, so that our planet might be what he desired when he created it and corresponds with his plan for peace, beauty and fullness,” the description on the background reads.
The idea of the Laudato Si’ themed Christmas crib was mooted by the parish priest of Holy Trinity Church, Fr Patrick Heng. He entrusted the idea to the Parish Youth Ministry who came up with the special background, conveying the message of the birth of Jesus Christ interwoven with Laudato Si’.
The youth made use of recycled items as main materials to create a three-dimensional effect which enhances the design of the crib. It took them approximately a month to finish the entire design.
Asked why he chose the theme, Fr Patrick said it was to highlight the role Christians play in caring for the Earth. Aside from the nativity scene, he had also included the message of Laudato Si’ in his homilies throughout Advent.
During Christmas last year, Holy Trinity Parish created a stunning Chinese-themed nativity scene.
Fr Heng is still praying for inspiration on the theme for Christmas 2018. “Maybe something on the family,” he told Today’s Catholic, to highlight family life in the parish.
The theme on the family will be in-line with the Vatican’s highlight on youth and family in year 2018. The two upcoming events in August and October 2018 respectively, i.e. the World Meeting of Families to be held in Dublin, Ireland and the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome, will focus on this theme.
For the next Christmas, Catholics in the Archdiocese of Kuching have much to anticipate.
Today’s Catholic Vol.29 No.10 January 2018