June 19, 2015


New Delhi, June 19 – Caritas India welcomed the Papal Encyclical in a public gathering held in New Delhi today. A four year campaign to support Pope’s mission to care for the Planet Earth was also launched.

Starting with the 17 million Catholic population in India, Caritas India hopes to build a chain of human network in support of the campaign ‘Pope4Planet’ launched in association with a Delhi based NGO partner- Chetanalaya and with the support from 200+ partners from across India.

Chetanalaya, the social wing of the Archdiocese of Delhi has been working in the field of environment since 1970, with various policy reformations at the state level and livelihood programs at the grass root level.

“Responding to the Encyclical’s repeated mention of growing ‘pollution’ and one wholly dedicated chapter on “on the root causes of the ecological crisis,” Caritas network have resolved to initiate the Pope4Planet campaign.” informed Fr. Paul Moonjely, the Deputy Director of Caritas India who flagged off the event in Delhi today.

In the coming months, Caritas network in India will join hands with many other organizations to amplify the concerns and possibilities mentioned in the Pope’s letter.

“Knowing well that the Encyclical is addressing a universal agenda on Environment Justice, the campaign would be open to all people irrespective of any religion.” Caritas India Executive Director Fr. Frederick D’Souza said.

“Pope4Planet campaign will embark upon an extensive green behavior activity by targeting to plant at least a million trees in a span of 4-5 years, influencing many others to join the mission.” Fr. Jolly from Caritas India explained.

“A million plants can produce enough clean air to fight at least 2.6 million kilograms of Carbon-di-Oxide accumulation that pose threat to the already thin ozone layer.” calculated Dr. Haridas, head of Natural Resource Management Team at Caritas India who supported the launch event from Kerala.

The campaign “Pope4Planet” will act on the theme “One human family, caring for creation’ in the run up to Caritas General Assembly in 2019.

It will lay major focus on afforestation activities (1 million varied species of trees) to sustain the below 2 degree Celsius temperature of our planet as proposed by United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen.

Additionally, a research is being initiated to validate the impact of Caritas India’s sustainable agricultural practices (SAP) program across India encompassing 43,000 small farmers. The findings of the study may be submitted at COP 21 in December 2015.

By Amrit Sangma, Public Relations and Communications Officer of Caritas India.