Living Laudato Si’
Earlier this month, the Archbishop of Dublin’s first pastoral letter, ‘The Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor’, was launched in An Tairseach Ecology Centre, Wicklow. During his address, Archbishop Dermot Farrell noted, “the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor go hand in hand. There will be no solution to this crisis without facing up to our obligations to our sisters and brothers whom the West has left behind… Our future—and the future of the planet—depends on our facing up to our responsibility”.
Highlighting the urgency of the crises the archbishop noted that turning towards another way of living involves a conversion which involves not only a change of practice, but a change of heart, a transformation from within. “Such a change of heart, such a transformation from within will only be effected by an encounter with the Lord of creation, and an encounter with Christ in each other.” This letter is an invitation to each of us, to join with the archbishop on a journey to care more deeply for our common home.
This pastoral letter calls people of goodwill, and especially people of faith, to embark on a journey of eco-conversion where we wake up to the realities of the environmental crisis. Our response to this crisis will involve nourishing a spirituality of gratitude and wonder, praying with and for creation. Using the parable of the Good Samaritan as a key to explore the issues, the pastoral letter urges each of us to really see how our world is hurting, left ‘half-dead’ at the side of the road, and that we, like the Samaritan, are called to engage. The archbishop invites parishes, schools, religious congregations to embrace small actions which can have a major ripple effect across a community.
The first action we can all take is to take time to read this pastoral letter which is available online and from Veritas. And we can discern where we are being called to respond. “Everyone’s talents and involvement are needed…” (Laudato Si’ 14). Secondly, as we approach COP26 (the UN Climate Conference) in November, one simple action we can all take is to sign the ‘Healthy Planet, Healthy People’ petition today www.thecatholicpetition.org
The launch of this pastoral letter took place in An Tairseach, the Dominican Ecology centre in Wicklow town. For 25 years the Dominican Sisters have walked the talk in terms of responding to the environmental crisis. They have created an ecology centre, an organic farm with its own farm shop, beautiful grounds designed to protect biodiversity and a cosmic spiral garden where people can come reflect on the vastness of God’s creation. There are numerous courses running in An Tairseach to help people engage and explore the wonders of God’s creation. There are also opportunities for families, schools and parishes to make a visit there. You can find out more at www.antairseach.ie