As we welcome the beginning of the Season of Creation, parishioners in the Diocese of Parramatta have been encouraged to do what they can to care for our common home.
The Season of Creation, a Christian celebration of prayer and action for the environment and creation which runs from 1 September to 4 October, was the talking point at Thursday night’s ‘BE MET’ Night.
During the session, the Diocese’s Peace, Justice and Ecology Coordinator Sebastian Salaske-Lentern, spoke with Parramatta Young Christian Workers (YCW) Secretary Alicja Borciuch.
Alicja explained that her passion for climate justice and care for creation came from an early age, and learning during Saturday School that “each creation matters”.
“It’s not just the big animals and big creation that we see around us [that matter], but it’s also the small creatures as well. Everything matters, everyone has a role and a purpose,” she said.
“As human beings, we’ve been created in the image and likeness of God, and we have that responsibility to uphold that dignity of life, of humanity, of each other, as well as looking out and caring for creation. We [as humans] are stewards of creation.”
She spoke to parishioners about the programs that her and the YCW Climate Justice team are doing both in-person and online to develop sustainable habits in young people that can be incorporated by anyone.
Before lockdown, the YCW team ran climate-focussed projects out of their Granville headquarters, which included sustainability classes where they made reusable face masks, vegan cooking classes and getting hands-on in their community garden and sharing their harvest.
Moving to the online sphere, YCW are focussing sessions on what people can do in their immediate realities of home by running demonstrations on reducing plastic waste and energy consumption, as well as hosting Zoom walks appreciating nature in their neighbourhoods.
“It is so important when you take action to be informed as to why we are taking action, what is the purpose behind it,” Alicja said.
“With our YCW movement, we have the ‘See Judge Act’ methodology which helps us review our realities, our experiences and what is happening at the moment in our lives. [We] look at our faith as well, our values and beliefs, and see what is happening [in our world], why it’s not right, and what should be happening and make informed action that we make together.”
Alicja explained that the Season of Creation is a beautiful time and is the perfect opportunity for us to be challenged, to make changes and to take action. She invited parishioners to take part in the Ignatian Solidarity Network’s ‘Healthy Habits for a Healthy Planet’ Season of Creation challenge to renew their relationship with creation or explore a new way of living with creation.
Sebastian told the group that he is planning on baking bread on a weekly basis. Alicja hopes to spend more time outdoors whilst working from home, and committed to picking up rubbish whilst on her daily walks. Parishioners also encouraged others to return their soft plastics for recycling at supermarkets.
Parishioners were also encouraged to sign the Healthy Planet, Healthy People petition, which is endorsed by the Vatican, ahead of two major United Nations conferences.
“It’s important to show our solidarity, our unity and our numbers [through this petition],” Alicja said. “We’re in this together, we’re all sharing this planet with each other and we definitely need to work together to love and protect the creation that God so wonderfully created and put so much love into.”
Pat from Sacred Heart Parish, Blackheath, who kindly shared with the livestream a song he wrote for last year’s World Day of Prayer for Creation, suggested that our outdoor exercise can be a great opportunity to celebrate the Season of Creation.
“God is present in his creation all the time, and you’ve just got to go and sit in the park and just absorb nature around you.”
The Peace, Justice and Ecology Office has created a website full of online activities and resources to commemorate the Season of Creation, which runs until 4 October, the Feast of St Francis of Assisi. Visit parracatholic.org/seasonofcreation today.
Watch Thursday’s ‘BE MET’ Night session on the Season of Creation here or below.
HOME Ground continues until 17 September. Find the program of free online gatherings on different topics at parracatholic.org/homeground/