Anniversary Celebration of Laudato Si’
On Sunday May 24, the Mercy Hub in Carlton North hosted a very special online celebration for the fifth anniversary of Laudato Si’. Pope Francis’ influential encyclical on ecology and climate change continues to inspire and challenge us as we live into the reality that ‘everything is connected’, especially in these days of coronavirus.
Welcoming over 100 participants from all around Australia and from Aotearoa New Zealand, Margaret Moore RSM (Mercy Hub Manager) invited them to bring their own concerns into dialogue with in-depth reflections given by Adele Howard RSM, Chris Hill, Environmental Sustainability Manager, and renowned biblical scholar Veronica Lawson RSM.
Adele Howard began the reflection process by reminding participants that Laudato Si’ focuses on environmental and economic issues; social justice and ecological needs are linked, and ‘we flourish, or perish, together’. Chris Hill drew on compelling images and data to describe the context of the climate crisis – locally, regionally and globally. Veronica Lawson asked ‘what do we hear that speaks to Earth’s distress?’ in the Lukan Ascension narratives. Just as the disciples were commissioned by Jesus to bring God’s word of love and care for all creation even to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8), we, as their successors, are called to incarnate the compassion for the Earth community that Jesus showed.
Participants were then invited to reflect in small groups on how their issues of concern were addressed by scripture and by the social and environmental teachings of the Church found in Laudato Si’. In encouraging action, Chris Hill then highlighted examples of practical actions for sustainability – locally, regionally and globally.
The afternoon concluded with the common prayer for the fifth anniversary of Laudato Si’, in which all joined their voices together, uniting with others from around the world.
The hosting of such a vibrant event on zoom, involving presenters in two different states and three locations, and Hub staff physically distanced in separate spaces within the Hub, was a technical challenge! However, participants greatly appreciated the opportunity to reflect together on how we are called to care for earth in these times, and to be enriched by the speakers’ insights.
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