Social justice groups draw wisdom from latest social justice statement

By Mary Brazell, 24 August 2021
Women wander through the CatholicCare Springwood Community Garden. Image: Diocese of Parramatta


Social justice supporters are enthusiastic about ensuring we continue to care for our common home in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.

That was the feeling when members of parish-based social justice groups and like-minded individuals across the Diocese of Parramatta gathered online for a Peace, Justice and Ecology Sharing session in mid-August.

Lead by Sebastian Salaske-Lentern, Peace, Justice and Ecology Coordinator, Diocese of Parramatta, participants were able to unpack the recently published Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s 2021-22 Social Justice Statement Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor.

Launched on 5 August 2021, the Australian Bishops’ statement responds to Pope Francis’ invitation in his encyclical Laudato Si’ to care for our common home and renews calls for ecological conversion.

RELATED: The Catholic Church in Australia responds to Pope Francis’ call for ‘Laudato Si’’ action

“Pope Francis is helping us to understand stewardship in a less human-centred and more mutual way. We are in communion with our fellow creatures who also sustain and care for us. He has shifted the language to care for our common home. Pope Francis is calling us to a relationship based less on duty and more on love,” the statement says.

One of the key points in the statement, our need to listen to our First Nations people and be responsive to their ways of caring for creation, resonated with several participants.

“Our indigenous brothers and sisters know how to live on the land and how to respond to it,” one participant said.

“It’s encouraging that we are listening to our First Nations people, as they have such a rich and sustainable culture,” another participant said.

After discussing what stood out to them in the statement, the group spoke on how the statement and the Vatican’s Laudato Si’ Action Plan for a seven-year journey towards more ecological and social sustainability may be implemented at a local and diocesan level.

Sebastian informed the group that Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, was keen on embarking on this journey with them, saying that it is a journey that we are all invited to be on.

“As we set out on our seven-year journey, we hope that Catholic families, schools, and organisations will join us. We invite you to start planning your next steps too,” the Bishops’ statement concludes.

Parishes, schools, families, individuals or organisations can already make a pledge to join the seven-year journey on the Vatican’s Laudato Si’ Action Platform at

The Peace, Justice and Ecology Sharing session was held as part of the Diocese of Parramatta’s HOME Ground program.

Download the Social Justice Statement Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor and other resources here.

HOME Ground has been extended to 17 September. Check out the HOME Ground program here.


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