Laudato Si’ – Awareness raising while “social distancing”

[Province of Ireland] Strength and stability are said to be among the qualities to celebrate at a fifth or “wood” anniversary. In designating 2020 as the beginning of a “multi-year Laudato Si’ roll-out plan”,Pope Francis invites us to strengthen and stabilise our faith in a new way.  The subtitle “on care for our common home”, is not what is usually expected in a Vatican document- for many it is not “holy” enough – in the conventional understanding of that word. While it is a long letter, comprising 246 paragraphs, the content is accessible and is written in an easy readily available style and a very worthwhile read.

In June 2020, an ad hoc “zoom” group of 12 men and women formed in Belfast to read and share on Laudato Si’ -over a four-week period. This contemporary medium offered the opportunity for each participant to find a voice. It was an enriching and valuable experience for all concerned. Some had never heard of the document! Others knew about it but since its importance was not highlighted in Church it promptly left their memory. One participant commented: “I never thought I would enjoy reading a letter from a Pope! It is wonderful.” It was indeed, for those four weeks, an enjoyable way of strengthening our faith. Further conversations were requested to build on new-found learning.

In order, to whet the appetite and generate discussion, four themes,our common home, integral ecology, social love – a dialogueand the joy of our hope, were selectedThese charted a personal journey through the document.  Paragraphs from Laudato Si’ were chosen to stimulate as many views as possible, a sample is included below. Each week one was e-mailed to the participants in advance of our “zooming”. Lockdown caused by coronavirus has very few, if any, valuable impacts- but this venture was very worthwhile and could serve as a model for other interested groups.

Love is the key to authentic development ….. 
to encourage a “culture of care” which permeates all society. 
(no.231)

Social Love – a dialogue

Today, however, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions ofjusticein debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.49, 74, 93,162, 165, 170,171

 Inter-generational solidarity is not optional, but rather a basic question of justice, since the world we have received also belongs to those who will followus.159,161,162, 166, 168, 172, 173, 174, 175  

Sr. Anna Byrne, Daughter of Charity 

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