Pope Francis Assigns India to Heal Addiction by 'Healing the Earth'

Published 05 September 2017  |  
Kripa Foundation.
A sign leading to the Kripa Foundation treatment center for those suffering with addiction.

Pope Francis, on Sept. 1, the 'World Day of Prayer for Creation', has assigned the churches in India to promote rehabilitation methods for healing people with addictions, under the banner "healing addiction by healing the earth."

The day, first observed by the Orthodox Church in 1989, was added to the Catholic Church's calendar in 2015, according to Crux.

Fr Joe Pereira, the founder of the India-based Kripa Foundation, said the call for healing the earth is timely.

"In a world torn by man's greed, he declared for Mother Earth, urging responsible consumption, accompanied at every step by corresponding methods of preserving and nurturing the blue planet," said Pereira.

"As the addicts were loving their most abused and misused bodies, minds and souls back to life, simultaneously they could twin their efforts with the pope's teaching on the environment," he added.

The two fold mission of the Kripa Foundation is to treat those with chemical dependency and those suffering from HIV/AIDS, with its centers across India, Europe, Canada and U.S.

The foundation in Goa has a kitchen garden and food forest, where patients in the course of their treatment, work the small-scale agriculture.

"In order to continue providing employment, it is imperative to promote an economy which favors productive diversity and business creativity," said Pope Francis.

"For example, there is a great variety of small-scale food production systems which feed the greater part of the world's peoples, using a modest amount of land and producing less waste, be it in small agricultural parcels, in orchards and gardens, hunting and wild harvesting or local fishing," he added.

Pereira said this rehabilitation method was "pro-life project" focusing "on the addict's creative ability to heal Mother Earth."

In the kitchen garden, which is about a half-acre, the members grow medicinal herbs, and fruit trees. It is harvested three times a week. It provides enough food for the members of the foundation plus the local community.

Poultry, aquaculture, and bee hives will be established soon, Pereira added.

Such pro-life projects help the suffering-addicts to observe and care for a variety of vegetables from the moment of planting it to the joy of serving them at the table.

"An addict who is born for an 'I-thou' relationship feels lost and lonely and so develops an 'I-It' relationship. A variety of substitutes for love and intimacy such as drugs, sex, gambling, and pornography prevent an addict from a life-fulfilling occupation," said Pereira.

The agricultural therapy helps addicts to learn to see the will of God unfolded in creation, and thus learns the spirituality of creation, he added.

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