Living Laudato Si’
During Laudato Si’ Week, May 17-24 this year, we were treated to a huge online celebration of Pope Francis’ encyclical on care for our common home.
Many international speakers, musicians, poets, theologians, activists and families came together to reflect on Laudato Si’ five years on. One of the highlights of Laudato Si’ week for me was the call from Pope Francis for a year-long reflection of Laudato Si’.
He said: “I invite all people of goodwill to take part, to care for our common home and our most vulnerable brothers and sisters.” It will run until May 24, 2021.
On the same day, the Pope announced the Laudato Si’ Action Platform, a programme that will encourage Catholic dioceses, institutions and schools, to publicly commit to total sustainability in the next ten years. The Pope is renewing this urgent call because he is listening to the science and is aware of what is happening to our world. During Laudato Si’ week the Philippines was hit with by Typhoon Ambo which forced thousands of people into evacuation centres in the middle of a pandemic. A few days later, Cyclone Amphan slammed into West Bengal in India and Bangladesh forcing the evacuation of 3 million people and devastating towns and cities such as Kolkata. The climate crisis has not gone away. During a Laudato Si’ week webinar Christina Figueres, the former UN Climate Chief, called our present pandemic, “climate change in a time warp”, stating that it gives us a snapshot of what the environmental crisis will bring in the next few years. She also added that this is a golden opportunity to press the reset button, to prove that we are capable of “building back better”.
The Laudato Si’ Action Platform, set before us by Pope Francis, gives an opportunity for Catholic Faith communities to shine as a beacon of light to the world, as a witness to protecting our common home for future generations. It is an act of love, solidarity and social justice.
As we continue to observe government restrictions at this time, I would urge people to use this opportunity for reflection about the type of future we want to build.
l This month, you might consider the gift of water as June 14 is National Holy Wells Day. In Ireland there are over 3,000 holy wells. In early Christian times they were seen as places of pilgrimage, prayer and healing. Find out if there is a holy well near you and, if it is in your 5km zone, take a visit there with your family. Thank God for the precious gift of water. Pray for those who suffer the consequences of drought worldwide and who have no access to clean drinking water. Think about how you and your family can protect water in your area and be mindful of its use. You can find out more information from www.lovingsisterearth.com
l You can watch back our wonderful celebration of Laudato Si’, called A Love Letter to the Earth, by accessing it on the ‘Margaret Aylward Centre’ YouTube page. A family friendly hour of celebration.
Jane Mellett is the Laudato Si’ officer with Trócaire.