Laudato Si’ Week:  May 16-24, 2022

Laudato Si’ Week, a celebration of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ and a call to action for Catholics around the world, is being celebrated May 16 – 24, 2022.  This year’s celebration is the seventh anniversary and is celebrated in Australia with Catholic Earthcare (Australia).

As part of Catholic Earthcare’s celebrations, they hosted an online screening of the newly released ‘Regenerating Australia’.  A short film – a fictitious news segment set on New Year’s Eve 2029, examining the decade that ‘could be’. The film challenges people to consider how to respond to the Cry of the Earth, the 2021=22 Social Justice Statement.

After the screening there was a panel discussion and a question and answer segment with Bishop Ken Howell and a range of guest speakers dedicated to finding ways to respond to the Cry of the Earth as the Catholic Church in Australia.

Internationally, Laudato Si Week is May 22-29.  However, in Australia, our Bishops decided to celebrate Laudato Si’ Week from May 16-24 during each year of their seven-year Laudato Si’ Action Plan journey. These dates allow both Laudato Si’ Week and National Reconciliation Week (May 27–June 3) to be celebrated appropriately by Australian Catholics.

More information on National Reconciliation week can be found here, there is an opportunity to listen to Sherry Balcombe, Executive Manager of Aboriginal Catholic Ministry Victoria. This presentation is organised by the Justice Action Group of St Mary of the Cross Catholic Parish, Mordiallic and Aspendale. Sherry will give a brief overview of Aboriginal culture and spirituality and how it relates to today’s world, reflecting on the questions of ‘Where are we?” “Where are we going?” “What kind of future Australia do we want to leave our children and descendants?”

A focus on the questions “What is the Laudato Si Action Platform and what is the journey?’ is an opportunity for discussion during Laudato Si Week. On Pentecost, 2020 an Interdicasterial Working Group of the Holy See published “Journeying towards Care for our Common Home: Five years after Laudato Si”. The introduction began with the exhortation of St Paul to the inhabitants of Corinth, “The time is running out” (1 Cor 7:29), today sounds as urgent as ever..

The result of this study was that in November 2021, at the end of the Special Laudato Si Anniversary Year (May 24, 2020 – May 24, 2021), Pope Francis launched a multi-year Laudato Si roll-out plan for a 7-year journey with 7-goals, a program and public commitment to make communities, institutions, and organisations around the world, journey to total sustainability in the spirit of Laudato Si.

These included invitations to (1) Families, (2) Dioceses and Parishes, (3) Schools, (4) Universities, (5) Hospitals and Healthcare Centres, (6) Businesses and agricultural farms and (7) Religious Orders and Provinces

In Australia, Catholic Earthcare has implemented programs to assist families, parishes and  Dioceses in this journey. The basis of the programs is using the tradition of Catholic Social Teaching to encourage us to: look at the social justice issues as the affect society locally and globally (SEE) understanding what is happening and why it is happening (JUDGE) and discerning the actions needed to respond (ACT).

Globally, the Laudato Si Movement has for many years now given opportunities through the online ZOOM platform, to dialogue with community members around the world and it has been a privilege to speak to people from the Philippines, Oceania, Africa, South America, USA, Asia and Europe who are sharing their concerns for the way we are caring for our world, their experiences now and their concerns for the future. These sessions always include prayer and reflection and have included many speakers from across the world.  Zooming is not such a big deal now after many using it through the pandemic.  Here’s your chance to check these zoom opportunities out.

Sandra Dillon

Stories from schools around the diocese:

Planting Trees for National Eucalypt Day
The World of Worms
Living Sustainably
Environmental Education