A mass stole to celebrate Laudato si’

The Jesuit mission in Cambodia has designed a new mass stole to mark the second anniversary of the proclamation of Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato si’ on June 18.  Intended for use by priests during Ordinary Time, the green stole is meant to integrate the spirit and teachings of Laudato si’ into the celebration of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist.

“We hope that this new stole will be helpful in guiding us in praying and caring for creation, our common home,” said Fr Gabriel Lamug-Nañawa SJ, Country Coordinator of Jesuit Service Cambodia, who was part of the team that designed the stole. The other members were Techie Mendoza, a guidance counselor from the University of the Philippines; Tess Rapadas, a former teacher of Miriam College and environmental advocate; and Fr Joey Rapadas, Vicar General of the Diocese of Ipil, Philippines.

Cambodia crucifix of Christ with an amputated leg

The mass stole has been an important part of the liturgical vestment worn by priests for many centuries.  It is a specific mark of their office as God’s ordained servants.  It also helps the congregation focus on the theme of the celebration by displaying the appropriate liturgical color and religious symbols to help guide attention and prayer.

The Laudato si’ stole, which was put together by Talleres de Nazareth in the Philippines, has three features. The first and most visible is the coming together of several colours forming the whole length of the stole.  Eight pieces of cloths, mostly in different shades of green with varying textures, are cut into small pieces and sewn together, giving the stole an earthy feel and a refreshing sense of nature.

Laudato Si’ Mi Signore stitching

“These different shades and textures symbolise the different elements of nature, highlighting the richness and diversity of plant and animal species, habitats, peoples and cultures that are all intimately integrated and united in a single unbroken chain,” said Fr Lamug-Nañawa.

Each stole is unique and different as the pieces of cloth are cut by hand and differ in size, shape and sequence.

The second feature is the crucifix from Cambodia, with the Christ on the cross having an amputated leg.  For many in Cambodia, this crucifix symbolises Christ’s compassion for and identification with victims of war and those who have lost their limbs and their sense of dignity and hope.

“The crucifix provides consolation with the assurance that Jesus accompanies and labours with the people,” said Fr Lamug-Nañawa, adding that creation itself is now marginalised and counted among the poor.

Jesuit Service Banteay Prieb Coordinator Fr Kwon Oh-chang SJ, Country Coordinator of Jesuit Service Cambodia Fr Gabriel Lamug-Nañawa SJ and Cambodia Mission Treasurer Fr Rudy Chandra Wijaya SJ wearing the Laudato si’ stole“Through the same crucifix, Christ labours and groans with creation that is violated, with creatures that are poached and driven to extinction, with indigenous peoples who have their lost lands and livelihoods, becoming environmental refugees. Christ's body bears the pain and the injustice that we ourselves are wreaking upon creation.”

Finally, the words “Laudato Si’ Mi Signore” (Praise God our Lord, our creator and redeemer) are stitched on the stole.  The text is shaped like a fish or a leaf, depending on the viewer.

Fr Lamug-Nañawa said, “Besides reminding us of the spirit of Pope Francis’ encyclical, it tells us that our approach to creation does not begin with trying to solve its many problems.  Rather, we are first thankful for all creation, turning to God with praise and gratitude for everything that exists, for existence itself, for God's labouring that makes all creatures beautiful and fruitful. We hope that this stole will inspire greater awareness, empathy, love and responsible action towards God’s creation.”

Fr In-don Oh SJ, Delegate of the Korea Provincial to the Cambodia Mission, will gift the new stole to the Jesuits in the mission when Fr General Arturo Sosa visits from July 14 to 17.


Main and bottom image: Jesuit Service Banteay Prieb Coordinator Fr Kwon Oh-chang SJ, Country Coordinator of Jesuit Service Cambodia Fr Gabriel Lamug-Nañawa SJ and Cambodia Mission Treasurer Fr Rudy Chandra Wijaya SJ wearing the Laudato si’ stole