Today is the start of “Laudato Si’ Week”, the crowning event of a special “Laudato Si’ Anniversary Year”, celebrated by the Catholic Church around the world. Six years ago, on 24 May 2015, Pope Francis gave his second encyclical letter “Laudato Si’ – On Care for Our Common Home” to the Church and to the global community. Last year, the fifth anniversary of this important day marked the beginning of a Laudato Si’ Anniversary Year, which now culminates in Laudato Si’ Week 2021, which runs from 16 to 24 May. If you would like to engage in this week’s events and activities, you can find some ideas below.
In his encyclical, Pope Francis called upon nations and societies around the world, but also each and every one of us, to “hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” and to undergo an “ecological conversion”. For Christians in particular, such a conversion means that “the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them” (Laudato Si’, no. 49 and 217).
Laudato Si’ Week 2021 will be a celebration of the progress the whole Church has made on its journey towards ecological conversion. It will also be a time to reflect on what still needs to be done, what the current COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, and how we can prepare for the future with hope.
An ecological conversion has – at least – two dimensions: The first dimension is a change of hearts and minds that leads us to recognising “every part of God’s Creation as our kin”. It enables us to develop a spirituality of “communion with the whole of creation” (see Dr Sandie Cornish’s reflection on Catholic Outlook, 17/05/2021). The second dimension leads us to changing our lifestyles and taking action for the preservation and flourishing of God’s Creation – individually as well as collectively as societies and faith communities. Both elements are inherently linked together.
Laudato Si’ Week will offer you a range of opportunities to explore these two elements. Here are some programs and activities you can participate in as a parish, school community, organisation, or as an individual. Furthermore, Catholic Outlook will feature articles about creation spirituality and action, each day this week.
- Join the Official International Laudato Si’ Week events – https://laudatosiweek.org/events
- Participate in the #LaudatoSiMoment Photo Contest – https://laudatosiweek.org/laudatosimoment-photo-contest
- Find inspiring quotes from Laudato Si’ with ideas for reflection and prayer at Social Spirituality. – https://social-spiritnet/catholic-social-teaching-documents/resources-on-laudato-si/laudato-si-week-2016
- Attend Laudato Si’ – Sowers of Hope on Friday, 5.30-6.30pm via Zoom – Join the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s “Office for Social Justice” and Caritas Australia’s “Catholic Earthcare” for prayer, scripture, reflection and dialogue to celebrate the end of Laudato Si’ Anniversary Year. For more information, visit https://socialjustice.catholiorg.au/2021/04/16/laudato-si-sowers-of-hope
- Spend a Heart of Creation Reflection Day at Mulgoa on Saturday, 9am-3pm: Explore the Ignatian understanding of Creation and the sacredness of all life as a gift amidst the tranquillity and beauty of Winbourne, Mulgoa. – Or if you already have other plans, this Saturday: To find out more, read our article on Catholic Outlook.
- Sign up for a Passion for the Earth – Laudato Si’ Camp for Adults at Wooglemai (Oakdale), 6-8 July. Download the brochure here.
- Take this week as an opportunity to start implementing the Laudato Si’ Goals (LSG) in your parish, school community, organisation, or as an individual. View the goals and download the poster to post in your schools and parishes here.
- You could even strive to become a Catholic Earthcare-Certified School (https://catholicearthcare.org.au/earthcare-certified-schools-program) or Laudato Si’ Parish (https://catholicearthcare.org.au/diocese-and-parishes)
- Explore God’s Creation on an Epiphany Pilgrimage in the Blue Mountains – http://www.epiphanypilgrimage.org
- Pray the Common Prayer for the Sixth Anniversary of Laudato Si’.
- Check Catholic Outlook for more inspiration, throughout this week.
Sebastian Salaske-Lentern is the Peace, Justice and Ecology Coordinator of the Diocese of Parramatta.