Monthly Prayer Intentions
Apostolic Exhortation – Gaudete et Exsultate
BIOGRAPHY OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
The first Pope of the Americas Jorge Mario Bergoglio hails from Argentina. The 83-year-old Jesuit Archbishop of Buenos Aires is a prominent figure throughout the continent, yet remains a simple pastor who is deeply loved by his diocese, throughout which he has travelled extensively on the underground and by bus during the 15 years of his episcopal ministry.
“My people are poor and I am one of them”, he has said more than once, explaining his decision to live in an apartment and cook his own supper. He has always advised his priests to show mercy and apostolic courage and to keep their doors open to everyone. The worst thing that could happen to the Church, he has said on various occasions, “is what de Lubac called spiritual worldliness”, which means, “being self-centred”. And when he speaks of social justice, he calls people first of all to pick up the Catechism, to rediscover the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes. His project is simple: if you follow Christ, you understand that “trampling upon a person’s dignity is a serious sin”.
Despite his reserved character — his official biography consists of only a few lines, at least until his appointment as Archbishop of Buenos Aires — he became a reference point because of the strong stances he took during the dramatic financial crisis that overwhelmed the country in 2001.
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’”.
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
Bishop Declan said of the Encyclical of the Holy Father:
“I welcomed the recent encyclical of the Holy Father Francis: Laudato si’ – On the Care for our Common Home.
Pope Francis’ significant encyclical reminds us of our common humanity and our part in the whole of creation.
I think this is a due reminder to us all of the responsibility that we have towards one and other and the whole environment and its well-being. To have a love for humanity is to have a love for the environment and to have a true love for the environment is to love humanity.
The Pope calls us to have an honest look at our lifestyle and to see in which areas we need to change. Two areas he points out is the waste of food, and the suffocating of our sensitivity towards others, which can arise through consumerism.
He calls upon Governments to act for the common good both towards its own citizens and towards the other nations of our world. He reminds us that man is more than an economic unit and we need to recapture a deeper sense of what it is to be human.”
Laudato si is Pope Francis’s Encyclical Letter on “The Care of Our Common Home”. Released on Thursday, 18 November 2015.
Laudato si is Pope Francis’s Encyclical Letter on “The Care of Our Common Home”. This 10-page summary – a map – serves as a useful guide for an initial reading of the Encyclical.
If you want to buy a hard copy of Laudato si’, you can pre-order from the Catholic Truth Society. Click to purchase for £4.95
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.