Image source: Laudato Si’ Movement
This year’s Laudato Si’ Week commemorated the seventh anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’. The celebration coincided with Biodiversity Day, reaffirming the importance of the environment and the safeguarding of the planet.
The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development invited everyone to undertake the seven-year “journey” proposed by the Laudato Si’ Action Platform, adhering to and promoting the seven “Laudato Si’ Objectives”: the Cry of Earth, the Cry of the Poor, Ecological Economics, Simple Lifestyles, Ecological Education, Ecological Spirituality and Community Involvement and Participation.
From May 22-29, people from all walks of life came together in their local and global communities in a synodal way to hear the cry of the Earth and the poor and find ways to tackle the climate crisis with synergy and contemplative action–”contempl-action”.
“The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change” (LS13).
A global tour of Laudato Si’ Week 2022:
In Canada, the Jericho House Laudato Si’ Retreat hosted policy advocates and would-be lobbyists seeking to bring about systemic change. Participants shared information and reflected on ways to tackle issues such as Indigenous rights, biodiversity loss, renewable energy, and waterways protection. Retreatants walked, contemplated, and connected with the homes of thousands of species that call the forest “home”.
In the USA, Catholic universities amplified Pope Francis’ call. Loyola University took a lead role within the Action Platform’s Universities Working Group, creating the University Pathways website with global contributors. The website introduces the Laudato Si’ Action Project, inviting others to join the 7-Year Journey. ”This is the time for universities to make changes to their own physical spaces, to decrease their carbon footprint and to become zero-carbon, zero-water institutions.”
In Argentina, Archbishop Lugones opened Laudato Si’ Week with a mass in Buenos Aires cathedral, calling for a “culture of care” to permeate society, warning that an ethic of solidarity and responsibility cannot be postponed. Meanwhile, Archbishop Jorge Lozano heeded the call to Listen and walk together: “We must be able to share these concerns with other institutions, universities, social organizations, communities of different religions, in order to build a more humane world together. In a video message, he introduced The School of Social Leadership, a project soon to be carried out by the Catholic University in Cuyo. Pic: Mons. Jorge Lozano
In the heart of Ecuador, Laudato Si’ Animator Marcos Mancero organized a Laudato Si’ Week commemorative fair in Puyo to talk about the environmental problems facing our common home, especially the Amazon, while touring the Laudato Si’ theme park. In La Vicentina, the first of a series of volunteer training sessions was held. Volunteers at the ecological trail learned about group guidance, the endemic plants and birds of the region, and the health benefits of contact with nature. The project is a collaboration between the Quito Chapter of Laudato Si’ Movement, the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul and the ConCiencia Ambiental club of the EPN.
Pic Vicentina 1
In Mexico, Laudato Si’ Movement’s Maureen Villanueva Lecuona and Alonso Elí de Llanes García delivered the Laudato Si’ Objectives Statement to the Congress of Nuevo León. Six counties came together to sign the Laudato Si’ commitment for water, bringing together government, organizations and Church into a common goal.
Throughout Italy, thousands walked the synodal path together to celebrate Laudato Si’ Week. Laudato Si’ Animator Luca encouraged all to safeguard our common home using the universal language of music. “When I start writing a song, first of all, I am attentive to the Spirit, aware that music can change people’s hearts and minds, inspiring in their emotions but also the desire to convert.”
The Reggio Calabria Laudato Si’ Circle, the Masci nautical scout group and the Focolarini, experienced a poetic Eucharistic adoration by the sea. Laudato Si’ Animator Francesco shares his thoughts: “The most beautiful moment …was when the Don gave us the Christ in our hands one by one, kneeling on the beach, the lights of the strait, the sound of the waves…, the sirocco breeze , the sky submerged between the clouds, the fire of the Christ in the empty hands like those of Abraham.”
In the UK, Laudato Si’ Animators rallied alongside activists from organizations like Friends of the Earth, Beyond Fossil Fuels Together and 350.org to halt Shell’s Annual General Meeting. The meeting restarted hours later with a smaller audience.
In Ireland, primary students continued making a big impact with ‘One Small Change‘. To honor the amazing power of our youth, we share this video that is as true today as it was when it was made two years ago.
In France, Laudato Si’ Movement supported various actions in Paris demanding that the oil company Total stops the construction of the EACOP oil pipeline that is considered a carbon bomb. Catholics mobilized the day before TotalEnergies’ AGM with a prayer vigil in Notre Dame des Anges, featuring an energizing gospel choir and touching testimonies from Christians from Uganda and Tanzania, and the participation of several Christian organizations such as Eglise verte and Greenfaith. The eventful ceremony was the first time that such a prayer service on a precise mobilization on Fossil fuels took place there. The following day, Alternatiba, Greenpeace and other organizations, including Laudato Si’ Movement, demonstrated against the company’s very insufficient environmental policies.
In Spain, the Diocese of Bilbao promoted eco-justice with the `Auzobizi’ project in Erandio. The project is part of the program of support for young immigrants in destitute situations. Laudato Si’ Animator Florencia Baldazo set Medina de Pomar on fire! She channeled her experience and wisdom into motivating her community and planning an amazing program, featuring concerts, a film screening, walks, talks, and more. The Diocese of Gaudix hosted Catholic Scouts from Almería. Bishop D. Francisco Jesús Orozco welcomed the scouts and spoke of the need to take care of our planet. In closing the week, Laudato Si’ Animator Rosa María Quero Pérez asked important questions and shared her reflections.
In Uganda, LSM Chapter leader John Hillary organized a series of events targeting the fossil fuel industry. The Artivism Workshop brought together a select group of creatives who use their art to highlight social issues.They were introduced to the #StopEACOP campaign, and coined a new slogan/hashtag: “#EACOPKatwa”. Katwa means “false” in Ugandan slang, and originates from the Luganda word Butwa, meaning “poison”. This slogan asserts that the EACOP promise of creating jobs and a good life for Ugandans is false, and EACOP is more destructive than people are told. On Afrika Day, A radio talk show was hosted by climate activist John Hillary with panelists Sr. Christine Kivungi MMS, Fr. Berry Apiire CSC and Prince Papa from The LaudatoSi Movement. The discussion emphasized the dangers of the proposed crude oil pipeline. Meanwhile, a group of young activists held a climate strike at the biggest Total Energies station in Jinja City to demand that the company put an end to its destructive project in the Albertine region of Uganda, chanting #EACOPKatwa and #StopEACOP to the Total Energies officials.
In South Africa, Laudato Si’ Animator Jane Overmeyer dedicated her time to painting Laudato Si’ inspired art. In Nigeria, LS Animator Marie Fatayi led an Environment and Energy Conference that involved the Archbishop of the Lagos Archdiocese, Alfred Adewale Martins, and a Commissioner of Lagos state Government. Ethiopia saw its first-ever in-person Laudato Si’ Animator training, thanks to LS Chapter Leader Dorothy Awuor and her collaborators. In Lubumbashi city, DRC, Sr Sylvie Thumba and partners from the Claretian Team of Solidarity and Mission in the DRC and the community of the Parish of St. Ignatius of the Cité Verte, Kinshasa, organized a series of events, such as “Let’s listen to the life of the Congo Basin and travel together to save it”, where participants gathered for an open-air prayer and collectively proposed an action plan to commit themselves to the safeguarding of the local forests as the lungs of the planet.
In the Philippines, Filipino Catholics use Laudato Si’ Week to clean up the sea. The Cebu Archdiocese and others in the Visayas region made a collective effort to resolve the climate crisis by addressing biodiversity loss and saving marine life.“We organized the first-ever Laudato Si’ underwater clean-up drive. Divers from all over the region, boat owners and volunteers removed trash lying on our seabeds,” -The Cebu Archdiocese Commission on Ecology. A tree-planting activity was also organized by the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Zambales, and a dance presentation was held by the youth on the Closing Eucharist for the Laudato Si Week Celebration at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Villanueva of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro.
In India, Bishop Allwyn D’Silva of the Archdiocese of Bombay marked the start of the Laudato Si’ Week celebration with a Creation Prayer Service.
In Pakistan, a mangrove planting activity was led by Caritas Pakistan Karachi. The program seeks to raise awareness among fisherfolk about the importance of mangroves in capturing carbon dioxide, protecting shorelines from erosion and maintaining marine biodiversity.
In Australia, Majellan Media initiated an important partnership with Laudato Si’ Movement in an effort to help families bring Laudato Si’ to life. Meanwhile, Laudato Si’ Animator Judith Keller led an online breathing workshop, interweaving Laudato Si’ texts. Attendees from Australia, Canada, the U.S and Korea entered musically, poetically and contemplative into a communal experience. In Fiji, Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Nadera, led by LSM Global Membership member Paulo Bale, organized daily webinars on the Laudato Si’ goals and posed daily challenges for children. One such challenge was to draw a picture of Crying Mother Earth. Pita Alifereti,13, overheard a conversation on “Responding to the cry of Mother Earth” and decided to take up the challenge. He asked his grandmother to share his work during Laudato Si’ Week. Well done, Pita!
Looking ahead: much more needs to be done
Heeding Pope Francis’ “ urgent appeal for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet” (LS14), this global celebration united Catholics and all people of good faith to listen and respond to the cry of creation, rejoice in the progress we have made in bringing Laudato Si’ to life, and intensify our efforts through the Laudato Si’ Action Platform as we walk the synodal path.
“We have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach” (LS 49). That’s why so many people took action during Laudato Si’ Week 2022. Are you ready for more?