The JPIC Roma group of the UISG-USG commission invited the Laudato Si’ Movement to take part in the Laudato Si’ Week opening at the Vatican Gardens on May 9th. It was a touching and profound moment of prayer, reflection and sharing on this year’s LSW theme, “Seeds of Hope”. 

Sisters and Fathers from nearly 20 congregations based in Rome gathered at the Grotto of Lourdes in the Vatican Gardens, at the feet of the Immaculate Mary, reflecting on what it means to be “seeds of hope”. The celebration was introduced by Sr Maamalifar Poreku, co-executive secretary of UISG’s JPIC commission. 

Sr. Maamalifar opened by affirming that “hope, faith and love represent a moral compass for us Christians”. She then mentioned Saint Paul, in Corinthians 13, reminds us of the pivotal role love plays in the Christian life. “We are called to reflect Christ in our lives, and for us to accomplish this we need to continually strive to embody love in all our interactions and endeavors. We need to love one another and love creation, as God’s a gift. We must be attentive as individuals and as a community and we must plant seeds to multiply and flourish.” 

This was followed by an opening song, “What a wonderful world”, and the collective reading of the Beatitudes inspired by Laudato Si’. Afterwards, the group embarked on a contemplative walk through the Gardens to reflect on the interconnectedness of nature and spirituality, inspired by the beauty and diversity of creation. 

Participants gathered in groups of 3 to reflect and share personal experiences on justice, peace and seeds of hope before a closing word. Father Ken Thesing, from the Maryknoll Family, led the group in a thanksgiving prayer to our Blessed Virgin Mary, for the beautiful time spent together in the Beauty of Creation. 

The song “Ave, Ave, Ave Maria!” was sung by the whole group in unison at the feet of the Virgin Mary, blessed by Sister Rain which cooled those gathered from the heat of that sunny day.