Global HealingSaturday 1st September 2018
Pope Francis has established 1 September as the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, encouraging the Catholic community around the world to pray for our common home. The annual Day of Prayer is inspired by his landmark encyclical Laudato Si’, which calls on “every person living on this planet” to care for our shared earth.
Pope Francis calls us all to celebrate this opportune moment to “reaffirm [our] personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which he has entrusted to our care, and to implore his help for the protection of creation, as well as his pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live.”
This World Day of Prayer also falls at the beginning of Creation Time, which runs until 4 October, the feast of St Francis of Assisi. This is an ecumenical season dedicated to prayer for the protection of Creation and the promotion of sustainable lifestyles. Below Bishop John in his role as Bishop for the Environment for the Bishops’ Conference, tells us about a new initiative and set of resources for parishes:
How our faith helps us to care for our common home
The Encyclical Letter of Pope Francis, Laudato Si, has opened the eyes of many people, both within the Catholic Church and beyond, to the serious and increasing damage that we are inflicting on our planet – our common home. With his gift of connecting so many different aspects of our lives together, Pope Francis draws together pollution, climate change, poverty, economic migration, human dignity and other social ills and has challenged us to recognise what is happening. He urgently challenges us to set out ways in which we may restore our world. Although he describes the current state of the world he also declares that there is time and every reason to hope that environmental degradation can be reversed. Perhaps the biggest challenge of Laudato Si is being aware that each one of us has a responsibility and all of us can take up the challenge, whoever we are.
In order to help us to respond to this enormous and daunting challenge placed before us by Pope Francis in Laudato Si, Catholic Faith Exploration (CaFE) is producing a programme, which will be free to download from the website or can be purchased on DVD, setting out various ways in which we as individuals, and within our families and communities, may take practical measures to begin to reverse the damage we are doing to our planet. CaFE was created in 1996, with encouragement from Cardinal Basil Hume, to help Catholics better understand their faith through visual presentations and discussions and so become better equipped to live it in daily life and share it with others. In the last twenty years CaFE has produced over thirty quality filmed courses which have been used to great benefit by many of our parishes.
This latest course, Global Healing, is free. It has been commissioned by the Bishops of England and Wales and is specifically designed to help people engage creatively with the vital spirituality of an “ecological conversion” highlighted in chapter 6 of Laudato Si. The programme has been filmed on location at the Eden Project, at a Franciscan Friary in Dorset and a wind farm in Cambridgeshire. Its descriptions and visual presentations help in understanding the reality of the damage being done and the various opportunities and possibilities that are within reach to reverse the process of pollution.
Global Healing draws on interviews with a number of people well able to encourage us. Participants include Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Dr Carmody Grey, Environmental specialist now working with Cafod, Sr Margaret Atkins, author of “Catholics and Our Common Home”, Fr Augusto Zampini, Formerly of Cafod and now working in the Vatican on these matters, Fr Kevin Irwin from the United Sates, Fr Sean McDonagh, and Br Loarne, a Franciscan from Greyfriars, Oxford.
Global Healing is also drawn from the work of Cafod and its experience and understanding of Climate Change in the Global South where the damage is greatest among the poorest people of our planet who have done least to cause it. While the DVD presents a great deal of material, there will also be a Global Healing website full of resources and ideas for deeper, practical application.
Global Healing is ideally designed to be shared over a supper with a parish group, with film clips, prayers and suggestions for discussion. Extra sessions will be available on the website which would be ideal for a short course, perhaps for the Season of advent. Details at http://www.ourcommonhome.co.uk
The essential first step is to recognise the problems of damage to our planet – our common home. When we acknowledge the situation we have created, either through ignorance or greed, we can begin in earnest to reverse the damage and secure a healthy world for future generations.
Bishop for the Environment for the Bishops’ Conference