In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis which has shaken the world, Pope Francis has invited everyone to join in celebrating Laudato Si’ Week, as a reminder that although we are separated right now, we are all connected.
in a video message, Pope Francis issued an urgent call to respond to the ecological crisis and to celebrate his encyclical Laudato Si’s fifth anniversary with another call to action.
“What kind of world do we want to leave to those who will come after us, to children who are growing up?” he asked. “Motivated by this question I would like to invite you to participate in Laudato Si’ Week. “I renew my urgent call to respond to the ecological crisis. The cry of the earth and the cry of the poor cannot continue.”
Director of Catholic Earthcare Australia, Bernard Holland said that paramount to the Pope’s call for urgent action is the engaging of young people. Catholic Earthcare, in partnership with the Australian Jesuits, the Campion Centre for Ignatian Spirituality and the Diocese of Parramatta has organised a range of activities across Laudato Si’ Week, which this year takes the theme, ‘Everything is connected’.
Of particular note, will be an international dialogue today, May 20, between Catholic youth from the five island nations of Malta, Tonga, the Solomon Islands, New Zealand and Australia.
“The intensification of storms in the Pacific and annual 6mm of sea water rises will devastate Pacific nations yet they have little contribution to the root cause of warming our planet,” Mr Holland said.
Professor Paul Pace, from the University of Malta said that youth in Malta, like those in most developed countries, do not fully understand the impact our lifestyles are having on poorer countries and their people.
“This opportunity for our Catholic youth to dialogue with our Pacific brothers and sisters will be both enlightening and educational,” Professor Pace said.
This youth dialogue will be keenly observed by students at Good Samaritan Education schools, who are committed, in line with the Good Samaritan Direction statement, to promoting ecological conversion.
Late last year, student environment leaders across the Good Samaritan Education schools in Sydney gathered to share their ecological journey.
The day was organised by the Good Sam ecology network of teachers led by Sue Martin and co-hosted with Clare Vernon, Youth Director at Catholic Earthcare.
Adrian Hicks is Head of Religious Studies at Mount St Benedict College. “Using our Benedictine spirituality and calling on the theme of stewardship, we used the Good Samaritan Direction document as inspiration, to listen to the spirit calling us to animate our commitment to ecological conversion,” he said.
Natalie Edmonds, Ecology Project Officer at Mount St Benedict, led the students on a nature walk in the Blue Gum forest on the college property showing them some of the initiatives undertaken to protect the forest, including the work of the Bennies Bushcare group that involves the wider community in bush regeneration and is overseen by the National Trust bush regenerators.
Later, the students calculated their ecological footprint and talked about some ways to tread gently on the earth. A number of students took up the challenge to be part of the Catholic Earthcare youth team.
For more information on the Catholic Earthcare Australia youth dialogue, click here.
To see Pope Francis’ video message, click here.
To see a Laudato Si’ Week video prayer resource from the Sisters of Mercy, click here.