Care for our Common Home

 – Reflection on Poole speaking event

For more information about the day or support with any of the above please contact

  •  Simon Giarchi CAFOD: 01752268768 sgiarchi@cafod.org.uk
  •  Mary Conway Justice and Peace: 07715 371276 mary.conway@prcdtr.org.uk

Care for our Common Home: Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’ is a profound invitation to everyone on the planet to care for our common home – God’s gift of creation, all people and all creatures.

‘Thank you Pope Francis for Laudato Si’!’ A large banner held by people in the Philippines expressed what parishioners from St Mary’s, Poole and neighbouring parishes felt by the end of a day of reflection, prayer and planning for action inspired by Laudato Si’  on Saturday 29th June. Parish priest Fr John Webb opened the day with a welcome and prayer, and then gave his support by staying throughout.

The Philippines is one of the countries most at risk from climate disruption. Just as Pope Francis uses see-judge-act-celebrate in Laudato Si’, national speaker, writer and activist Ellen Teague (Columban family, the Tablet) used the method to share the experiences of poor communities around the world, (including a slide of the banner mentioned above). Their stories are often of environmental degradation, rising sea levels and exploitation of their natural resources. Taking Pope Francis’ key insight- integral ecology -Ellen showed that poverty, violent conflict and the environment are intimately connected. Our lifestyle choices and actions all have consequences for our brothers and sisters around the world and for our common home.

Seeing the true state of the world -hearing ‘the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor’-is painful, and people often experience it as disempowering. So the temptation can be live in a state of denial. However Pope Francis locates the root source of the ecological crisis in a disorder of the human heart. This means that change is possible – our faith is that the Holy Spirit has the power and the desire to convert our hearts.

Catechist and author David Wells helped us to reflect how we could open ourselves to such a conversion. He encouraged us to think about what virtues we might need (such as courage, hope, patience) and what in our lives gets in the way of exercising those virtues or makes them fragile. See-judge-act-celebrate is a spiral rather than a linear process, and David started with ‘celebrate’. He urged joy as a contemplative practice in our prayer life. Compellingly, he encouraged us to ‘act’ and we would find that a process of conversion in itself.

So what actions will be taken? Ellen, the Poole CAFOD volunteers and deacon Nick Johnson of Caritas Plymouth all had inspiring ideas for the next steps. Caritas Plymouth will be supporting charitable projects with four main focuses: children and family life, refugees and migrants, elderly and isolated people and homelessness. We can support CAFOD’s Our Common Home campaign, hold a Creation Mass, support the work of CAFOD with the poorest communities around the world, sign up to the livesimply parish journey, lobby MP’s and local councils about the climate crisis, study and reflect with the Global Healing CAFÉ course produced by Bishop’s Conference (maybe in preparation  for the Day of Prayer for Care of Creation and Creation Time  1 Sept – 4 October 2019), encourage our diocese to adopt an Environmental Policy, support outreach to asylum seekers and refugees and take many individual actions to live simply, sustainably and in solidarity with the poor. And as Pope Francis says: ‘Let us sing as we go!’

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