Laudato 'Si: On the Care for our Common Home

 

On the Care for our Common Home is the Pope’s Encyclical Letter on the environment and human ecology

Laudato ‘Si

On the Care for our Common Home is the Pope’s Encyclical Letter on the environment and human ecology.

Pope Francis challenges us to consider the kind of world we want to leave to those who come after us. It’s not just an ‘environment encyclical’, it leads us to ask ourselves about the meaning of existence and the values at the heart of social life: “What is the purpose of our life in this world? What is the goal of our work and all our efforts? What need does the earth have of us?”

Pope Francis, quoting Pope Saint John Paul II, reminds us that, as Christians, we are called to be responsible custodians of creation:

“Christians in their turn ‘realise that their responsibility within creation, and their duty towards nature and the Creator, are an essential part of their faith’”.

2021 is a very significant year, not just because we are gradually emerging in UK from the pandemic, but because of some very important international meetings which could determine the future of our planet and its inhabitants.  There is the G7 summit in June and COP26 on the climate crisis in November, both of which are held in the UK; also, China will be hosting international negotiations on protecting biodiversity.  Now is our opportunity to join with voices from Catholics (and others of faith) around the planet asking the leaders of these global gatherings to urgently align national and global commitments with limiting warming to 1.5ºC at most. Alongside this we are asking that the wonderful diversity of creatures living in our common home be protected. 

Please sign the Healthy Planet, Healthy People petition and ask family and friends to join with you.

Countdown to COP26

The Pope in Laudato Si, published in 2015, called us to hear the ‘cry of the earth and the cry of the poor’, and for an end to our throwaway technocratic culture, in favour of an ecological conversion to a new and more harmonious relationship with creation, ourselves and each other, and God. 

COP26, which stands for the Conference of Parties, which has met 25 times, this year meets in Glasgow in November to test progress on the agreements made by 196 countries in Paris in 2015 to limit climate heating to 1.5 degrees above pre industrial levels. We are already at 1.3 and global emission of the gases which cause the heating are still increasing. Scientists agree this is the year which must show real actual progress in order to avoid irreversible catastrophe for humans and for most life. We are already seeing terrible events happening more and more frequently.

There are now 60 days left till COP26, to pray for those suffering the effects of climate change already and to move the hearts of all leaders before the conference. While promises are being offered more concrete plans are needed as the International Panel for Climate Change said, it is red alert for humanity.

This is also the Season of Creation, when we give thanks for the bounty of the harvest but also for all the beauty and diversity and interconnectedness of life on our wonderful irreplaceable and unique planet. The following are monthly suggestions to help us imagine such a future through using familiar bible stories applied to the situation we face, so we can pray for the success of the conference and to prepare the changes we need.

September 5th

Psalm 104 is wonderful celebration of creation, a verbal picture of a David Attenborough wildlife film, and rejoices that all things ‘ask their food from God’. We need to have that attitude of sharing the gifts of creation in faith and trust

September 12th

Psaalm 8 explores the awesomeness of the universe and our immense power and responsibility for its care, as the Pope says our planet is falling into serious disrepair and that was 5 years ago.

September 19th

Matthew 6 .31: Jesus says do not worry about what to eat and what to wear. ‘Your heavenly Father knows you need them all. Set your hearts first on God’s kingdom and on his saving justice’. The climate catasrophe adversely affects the poorest and most vulnerable. It is an issue of environmental justice that we act justly and that global and cooperative action is taken.

September 25th

Matthew 12.43 the unclean spirit.

In Galatians 5.5 Paul says that greed is a form of idolatry. People often say they will ‘get rid of’ or recycle all the stuff they have to a charity shop, but if we do not change our attitude to things, we will find that our houses fill up with yet more stuff, just like the unclean spirit returns with friends to the swept and tidied soul. Instead lets cultivate gratitude for what we have.

Timetable for prayer for events this year

The Young Christian Climate Network is on a 1000 mile walking relay pilgrimage round England and Scotland to reach Glasgow in November. Each city they reach there will be major awareness raising events. Our Bishop was present when they had an event outside Bristol Cathedral, along with the Anglican Bishop and the Mayor Marvin Rees. They had events and prayers in London and are now headed for Birmingham.

Creation Masses invited for all churches before National Climate Sunday Service in Glasgow on September 5th

Creationtide 1st September – 4th October

4th October full launch of Laudato Si Action Platform

23rd October Bishop Declan celebrates a Mass for a Green recovery

Camino and pilgrimages to Glasgow already started and from September 6th in London and Bristol on 9th September, starting at 12 noon to walk to Frampton Cotterell that night, and on to Winterbourne next day. Feel free to join for part of the way. Some are walking from Europe.

Biodiversity Conference COP15 11th -24th October a virtual conference with the actual conference postponed to April/May 2022 in Kunming China

COP 26 in Glasgow recently changed to 31st October -11th November

A CATHOLIC RESPONSE TO THE ENVIRONMENTAL CRISIS

“What is more, Saint Francis, faithful to Scripture, invites us to see nature as a magnificent book in which God speaks to us and grants us a glimpse of his infinite beauty and goodness.

‘Through the greatness and the beauty of creatures one comes to know by analogy their maker’ (Wis 13:5); indeed, ‘his eternal power and divinity have been made known through his works since the creation of the world’ (Rom 1:20).

For this reason, Francis asked that part of the Friary garden always be left untouched, so that wild flowers and herbs could grow there, and those who saw them could raise their minds to God, the Creator of such beauty.  Rather than a problem to be solved, the world is a joyful mystery to be contemplated with gladness and praise.”    Laudato Si paragraph 12


Wilding on Church Premises

‘The time is Now’ to set aside an area of your parish grounds for wildlife.

One way to do this is to find a small grass area somewhere on church premises to leave to see what grows naturally.  It’s important to look at the ‘grass’ and there will probably be parallel veined leaved plants, feathery leaved plants all waiting to be given the chance to grow. Grass is often not much grass at all! ‘Caring for God’s Acre’ advises us not to introduce wildflower seeds to a grass area.  Wait and see what grows naturally.  Introduced seed might be so invasive that it swamps the indigenous. However, if there is no grassed area could a small area be dug and a packet of wild flower seeds planted?

A small area of a churchyard in Hertfordshire was left unmown from March to August to see what would grow.  We saw Germander Speedwell, Car’s Ear, Primrose, Bird’s Foot Trefoil, flowers full of nectar for pollinating insects and butterflies.  When the Lady’s Bedstraw came into bloom, there was a carpet of yellow and a sweet honey-like fragrance wafting in front of people as they left church.

 Lady’s Bedstraw (Galium Verum) is so named because in medieval times the dried plant was used to stuff mattresses, as the scent of the plant acted as a flea repellent!  The flowers were responsible for the yellow colour of Double Gloucester cheese.

So from this, a hidden miracle…..this. God’s glory revealed! A bees’ paradise.

Bees are in rapid decline and yet sadly the UK government has reversed its ban on bee-killing pesticides. These pesticides are linked to the decline in population of a third of our pollinating bees.

It is estimated that one third of the food that we consume each day relies on pollination mainly by bees, so you are invited to sign the Greenpeace petition calling for a ban on neonicotinoids.

 

LAUDATO SI ANIMATORS UK

Dedicated to spreading the teachings of the Pope’s Encyclical ‘Laudato Si’

Martin Davis, Cheltenham Laudato Si’ Circle.

LAUDATO SI: OPENING THE DOOR TO THE SPIRIT

The COVID 19 pandemic has had devastating effects in Brazil among the poor, marginalised and indigenous people. Last official figures (which are not at all accurate) stated that 3 million had been infected and 100000 had died as a result of COVID-19. Illegal mining, land grabbing, deforestation and killings continue throughout the lands of the indigenous amidst global denial of climate change. Unafraid, the bishops of Brazil stand with the people of God, namely the church. The Pope’s Encyclical Laudato Si, and the Amazon Synod bear prophetic witness to the need for us all to re-examine our values and especially our relationship with Our Creator, Nature and each other. Fr Leo Dolan, a priest of the Clifton Diocese, still working in Brazil, South America has sent the prayer below. He and his community have circulated some 2000 copies of this prayer to the isolated members of his community and to the local prisons making all inclusive. Notice how it captures the spirit of Laudato Si – to allow the Holy Spirit to enter into our communities and show his presence. To be fully human and fully alive does not require money and possessions but does require living the beatitudes.

‘Spirit of light, come, illuminate, clarify and raise our awareness; help us delve into the essence of what matters. Without your presence everything is meaningless and history is without direction. 

Stay, Holy Spirit, Spirit of Transformation, awaken, strengthen, and increase the energy of your people.  Without Your strength, everything stops functioning.

Stay, Spirit of Creation, renew, and build our future.  Without your courage, we grow old and incapable of new behaviour and action that sets us free. 

Stay Spirit of Consolation, comfort and console the hearts of the afflicted.  Without Your help everything becomes sad and lifeless. 

Stay Spirit of Peace, inspire our young people to wrestle with the difficulties they face. Without your presence, peace is superficial and full of contradiction. 

Stay Spirit of immediate help, you are much needed.  Christ is at the door and knocking.  Come and lead the way to the Kingdom. 

Stay Hidden Spirit, Promised Spirit, Spirit of the prophets, Jesus, Mary, the youthful Church, the martyrs of Brazil, Latin America and the World. 

Pour your love on us, and accompany us on the journey with your people who gather and struggle alongside each other to build the life of a Kingdom of Justice, of Peace, and of Love. 

Amen!’

GET TO GRIPS WITH LAUDATO SI

How do we translate  into positive action the call to care for our common home in  Pope Francis encyclical ‘Laudato Si ‘?  The Global Catholic Climate Movement has just released the first of a series of monthly reflections to  help us do just that.  Each month you’ll find prayer intentions, scriptural reflections, challenging questions to ponder or discuss, stories from people around the world and a call to action.  This month reminds us about the Season of Creation, September 1st to October 4th, an opportunity to celebrate God’s gift of creation with the global Catholic family.

How will a post-COVID world look?

Today, mid-pandemic, let us begin to imagine a post-COVID world!

“What kind of world”, Pope Francis asked us all, 5 years ago, “do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” (Laudato Si’, 160). This is how Pope Francis described the world—“everything is closely interrelated and today’s problems call for a vision capable of taking into account every aspect of the global crisis” (Laudato Si’, 137).

Laudato Si’s message is just as prophetic today as when Pope Francis signed it in May 2015. Clifton Diocese’s friend Fr Augusto—at the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development—has just announced a Special Laudato Si’ Anniversary Year, from May 2020 to May 2021. We hope—as do Fr Augusto, the Dicastery, and Pope Francis—that this Laudato Si’ anniversary year, and the ensuing decade, will be a time of grace, a “Jubilee time for the Earth, and for humanity, and for all God’s creatures.”

Everyone is invited to join in – how will you respond to this exciting opportunity? A good place to start is with Laudato Si itself. Read it in the light of the current pandemic. Also you might like to ask your parish council to look at the list of initiatives for the celebration of the Special Laudato Si’ Anniversary Year in the Anniversary Year Plan

 

Season of Creation 2020

Resources and Reflections

 

During this season we are encouraged to pray and engage in community events in order to deepen our relationship with our God, our neighbour and the earth we share. 

In addition to the resources offered here we will also provide weekly reflections starting on August 30th which can be used by individuals or perhaps on-line with your different parish groups.

The Season of Creation

is an annual celebration uniting Christians in prayer and action for the protection of our common home. The idea of celebrating 1 September as a day of prayer for creation began at the wish of the Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios in 1989, and was endorsed by Pope Francis in 2015. The season runs from September 1 to October 4, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.

During this season we are encouraged to pray and engage in community events in order to deepen our relationship with our God, our neighbour and the earth we share, being ever more attentive to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.

Writing about the season in 2019 Pope Francis said, “this is the season for letting our prayer be inspired anew,” a season “to reflect on our lifestyles,” and a season “for undertaking prophetic actions … calling for courageous decisions … directing the planet towards life, not death.”

This year’s celebration takes place in the context of the special ‘Laudato Si’ Anniversary Year,’ which Pope Francis opened on Sunday 24 May to coincide with the 5th anniversary of his encyclical. As part of this special year, the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development have again written a letter encouraging Catholics to engage in the Season. Msgr. Duffé, the Dicastery Secretary, writes of the particular relevance this year as the world continues to struggle with the coronavirus pandemic.

The theme for 2020 is “Jubilee for the Earth”. This year we are invited to “consider the integral relationship between rest for the Earth and ecological, economic, social and political ways of living.”

During this Season, we would be pleased to hear of any projects being undertaken in your dioceses to care for our common home. Please contact environment@cbcew.org.uk with any stories you would like to share.

A statement from the Bishops of England and Wales on the ecological crisis can be found here.

 “Jubilee for the Earth: New Rhythms, New Hope.”

1st September – 4th October

From September to October each year the Christian Community celebrates the Season of Creation by praying and acting together to protect our common home. It begins on 1st September, the World day of Prayer for Creation. As followers of Christ from around the globe, we share a common role as caretakers of God’s creation. We see that our well-being is interwoven with its well-being.
The theme of this year’s Season of Creation is Jubilee for the Earth: New Rhythms, New Hope. We are invited to consider the integral relationship between rest for the Earth and ecological, economic, social and political ways of living. The far-reaching effects of the global pandemic, COVID-19 has shown us of the need for just and sustainable systems.
This resource, along with many other available on-line, is to support our desire to engage with this Season of Creation. It offers Scripture, Prayers, the opportunity for individual and group reflection (albeit via Teams or Zoom) and some actions which we may consider as part of our commitment to working for the protection of our world.
Apart from week one which starts our journey on 1st September with the World Day of Prayer for Creation the resource follows the Sundays of September up until Sunday 4th October, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.
It is suggested that you begin your time of prayer and reflection by creating a prayerful space, by lighting a candle and having a moment of silence before beginning.
At the end of the prayer time there are some points for action so that we can take our prayer into the heart of our everyday lives.

Booklet to accompany this month: week one Season of Creation

South Bristol Laudato Si’ Circle based at Emmaus House offer reflections on a specific quote from Laudato Si. 

Click the image to get the full size version.

Week three:
13 September

The Lord is Kind and Merciful
The Introduction to the Missal is a rich source of theology. The entire Eucharistic celebration is planned in such a way that it leads to conscious, active and full participation of the faithful. In body and in mind believers can burn with faith, hope, and charity #18. Believers remember the loving kindness of God as they use material things in prayerful actions to convey sacred mysteries – signs and symbols. The water of baptism and oils of anointing; bread and wine bringing spiritual nourishment: these are all gifts of Earth and work of human hands.

Today, we celebrate the grace of God loving us into existence and giving Earth as our home. In our time of prayer this week we are encouraged, by our Sunday Readings, to reflect on God’s merciful love and invitation we are offered to respond in the same way to those who have offended us. The capacity to forgive and be forgiven is necessary if cycles of violence are to be broken. We do not have to do this alone. The love which God has for us also brings forgiveness and the chance to renew our relationships with one another and with our world.

Week Three Season of Creation


Week Five
September 27th

Actions speak louder than words

 In the parable of the two sons, Jesus asks us to think whether our words and actions are in agreement. It is easy to talk, to pronounce and to make statements. It is more difficult to give time, effort and attention. Every Sunday at Mass we profess our faith, a faith which through our Baptism we are commissioned to live out in the daily activities of our lives. Jesus values a few small acts more than many fine words.  it is easy for us to talk about the needs of our common world, but it takes more effort to do something in response. As we continue to reflect on the needs of our world and specifically the way that we seek to protect our planet and those countries most affected by climate change, we are encouraged to take small steps and engage in small activities which slowly but surely will have an impact for the greater good.

Week Five Season of Creation

Week two:
6 September

Love Your Neighbour
The theme of this week’s prayer for the Season of Creation is taken from our Sunday readings, which call us to love our neighbour, to be reconciled when there is conflict and show by our words and actions our desire to build peaceful communities where everyone can thrive. For every community to thrive, Pope Francis reminds us that we must work together to ensure that our common home is protected, that there is ‘sustainable development and integral development’ and the poorest are not excluded.

Week Two Season of Creation


Week Four
September 20th

To Give without Counting the Cost

Our Sunday readings this week invite us to remember that God is near and, like the generous landowner, gives equally to all his workers. Let us not take for granted the gift of the countryside and the people surrounding us. We, too, are called to do what we can without counting the cost to ourselves but opening our hearts generously to the needs of our world.

Pope Francis calls us all to celebrate this opportune moment to “reaffirm our personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which he has entrusted to our care, and to implore his help for the protection of creation, as well as his pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live.”

Week Four Season of Creation


Week six
4 October

Feast of St. Francis

This week we close the Season of Creation with the Feast of St. Francis on 4 October St. Francis is the patron saint of animals and the environment and worship inspired by this Feast typically include pet blessings, prayers for environmental protection and conservation, and a call to a lifestyle based in simplicity and service to others.

You can watch the video further up this page to the right.

Week 6 – Season of Creation

To celebrate the 2020 Season of Creation;

A Stations of Creation walk from St Thomas More’s, Cheltenham, 11 September 2020

Please click the image below to open the PDF of the walk

World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

Father, Lord of all creation,
we praise you with all your creatures
and the whole universe that comes forth from the work of Your hands.
We acknowledge the privilege and responsibility
that You give us as stewards of Your creation.
In our ignorance we have done damage to our common home
and our brothers and sisters are suffering.

Through faithfully following your Son
guide and direct us to prepare for a better future.
Teach us to contemplate You in the beauty of the universe,
for all things speak of You.
Give us the grace to recognise, respect and protect all You have created,
using wisely all that you have entrusted to us.

Holy Spirit,
who first hovered over the dawn of creation and drew order out of the chaos
help us to build your kingdom of justice, love, peace and beauty where the poor of the earth are crying out.

You, who live and reign, world without end, Amen.

Resources:

During the Season of Creation, please consider using the following:

50 Ways to Care for Creation
Respect for human life means respecting all of God’s creation

Global Healing and Global Caring
Global Healing and Global Caring are free film-based resources to help us to respond to the damage being done to our planet – our common home. It is for parishes, groups and individuals and aims to engage you with Pope Francis’ vital call to care for our common home.

Season of Creation 2020 Celebration Guide
A guide from the organisers of Season of Creation to teach you about the season and help you plan for and celebrate it. You can visit seasonofcreation.org for more materials.

SCIAF Season of Creation ‘Zoom’ sessions
SCIAF (the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund) are celebrating the Season of Creation through a series of events urging Christians across the globe to Care for our Common Home. You can register via the SCIAF website.

Novena to St Francis
CAFOD have produced a series of nine brief reflections asking for St Francis of Assisi to pray for us and our world, based on his Canticle of the Sun.

Climate Sunday
A new initiative from Churches Together in Britain and Ireland asking for local churches to hold a Climate Sunday mass or service at some point during the Season of Creation, to commit to reducing carbon emissions and to join a call for strong action on climate change to the UK government in advance of COP26. CAFOD’s ‘Creation Celebration’ guide is perfectly suited for celebrating a Climate Sunday celebration.

Individuals
During Lent last year, Bishop John Arnold used his pastoral letter to challenge all parishes and schools in the Diocese of Salford to make practical responses dealing with climate change. A handout with practical suggestions was also made available at the back of all churches.

Prayers and Liturgy

A Catholic Season of Creation – Sundays of September (Year A, 2020)
“A Catholic Season of Creation” resource explores the Sunday scripture readings to help us find the voice of the earth as the voice of the Holy Spirit. Our common Sunday worship is an easy place to start seeing the natural world in God’s plan of Salvation in Jesus Christ by linking the insights of ecology with Scripture. (Produced by: St Columbans Mission Society)

Our Common Home: Creation Celebration Organisers’ Guide
Join CAFOD in celebrating a Creation Mass ideally on 1 September for the Season of Creation and/or on the 6 October to pray for those involved in the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian Region.

Listen here to Mary Colwell, a radio producer and writer on enviromental issues. She gives a great overview of the key messages of Laudato si

Carmody Grey is a Doctorate student at Bristol University, she explains what she thinks of the Pope’s message and how, as a young person, it will impact on hers, and other young people’s lives.

The final podcast is by Jane Critten. As a mother of five young children., she explains her hopes for the future and how the message from Pope Francis will help her in her family life and how this could make a better place to live for her children in the future.