Laudato Si

Laudato Si’ – awareness raising while ‘social distancing’

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 were selected that charted a personal journey through the document.  Paragraphs from Laudato Si’ were chosen to stimulate as many views as possible. Each week, one of the attached sheets was e-mailed to the participants in advance of our ‘zooming’ session. 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. The...

READ MORE

Laudato Si’ week – 16-24th 2020

Dear Reader Laudato Si’ week, May 16 -24th, is fast approaching. It is an opportune time for us, during ‘social distancing’, to revisit Laudato Si’ on its 5th anniversary.  In the encyclical, Pope Francis urges us to hear the cry of the poor, the cry of the earth and to respond to the ecological crisis. His reminder that everything is connected should impel us to engage with the document and take what small steps we can, to conserve the earth – our common home.  The mandate to ‘stay at home’ could give us ample scope to do just that.  Attached please find a pack that may encourage your exploration. May it be a rewarding experience. Anna Byrne – Daughter of Charity.

Time to Remember and Implement Laudato Si’ – on its 5th anniversary

The earth our common home is suffering. Misuse, often through lack of reverence and thought, has impelled us to seek profit rather than to care for God’s earth - our most precious gift.  We have taken our beautiful home for granted which in the words of Pope Francis is ‘looking more and more like an immense pile of filth’ (Paragraph 20). May 24th this year marks the 5th anniversary of the publication of Laudato Si’. This encyclical has contributed considerably to the Church’s social teaching ‘on care for our common home.’  Jeffery Sachs called it a ‘great and timely gift to humanity’[1] and Pope Francis called for a prompt and global response. Unfortunately, our response over the five years has been neither prompt nor globalised. Surely, now is our opportunity when coping with the Covid-19 imposed restrictions and the frequent reminders that we can expect a very different world, to ‘seek a new beginning' and encourage a culture of care for the earth. This will involve above all responding to the cries of people struggling with poverty because of global economics. Laudato Si’ is a long but rewarding read.  The first part outlines how and why our earth and the majority of its population are suffering. The content is under pinned by modern science- lending credibility to the discussion. Having outlined the suffering of ‘our common home’ the Pope encourages us to own up to and take responsibility for our part in causing the suffering. In conclusion the encyclical introduces ‘integral ecology’ (225) as a way of highlighting the unique place of humans within creation. Being in that unique place Pope Francis challenges us to renew our lifestyles in harmony with God, our fellow humans and nature. This time of ‘social distancing’ gives us ample opportunity to celebrate the anniversary...

READ MORE

Befriend ‘Social Distancing’ with Pope Francis

On May 24th, five years ago Pope Francis wrote a letter- Laudato Si’ - encouraging us to take care of our common home– the earth. Today, we in Northern Ireland like many people in the world are coping with the Covid -19 pandemic. We are at home because of the virus and many of our shops and businesses are closed with our families and friends working from home or have no work. The message in the letter, Pope Francis sent us five years ago, was ‘to seek a new beginning’ – a good idea surely to help us cope in our present situation! A1. Being Happy during Social Distancing- ‘less is more’ During ‘social distancing’ what activities shown in the cartoon are helping you to take care of yourself?  List other activities that you are doing to help yourself?  List them in order of your preference. In what ways are these activities making you feel happy? A 2. Restrictions on social contacts and not going places can help us to develop the habit of being happy with less During ‘Social Distancing’ shopping centres not are not open, going to the cinema is not possible, neither is spending time in Cafés with friends or team sports– yet feeling happy and content is possible.  What positive things are you doing that help you feel happy and grateful? List these things in order of your preference. Identify one good habit that you will carry with you when ‘social distancing’ ends? Write a letter to Pope Francis and/or a local newspaper explaining how ‘social distancing’ has given you an opportunity to put in place a ‘new beginning’ for yourself. “Christian spirituality proposes an alternative understanding of the quality of life ….. one capable of deep enjoyment free of the obsession of consumption ….. it...

READ MORE

‘Showing care for others’ with Pope Francis

In Laudato Si’ – the letter that written by Pope Francis – the Pope asks us to show care for others – to recognise that we need one another and that we all need to encourage a ‘culture of care’.  Pope Francis calls this ‘social love’.  Even making small gestures to show our thanks to others helps to build a better world. The Covid -19 pandemic is causing us to think of others who are working to keep our hospitals and health services open, to look after and care for those who are ill.  Pope Francis invites us ‘to seek a new beginning’ – by showing care for others. B1. During Social Distancing our well – being depends on others. Look at each of the beatitudes above. Which beatitude best represents you? How are your actions during ‘social distancing’ helping others? Who is helping you and how are their actions helping you? Draw and label two other ‘beatitudes’ that you could add to the diagram above. B2. Being grateful to others can help us to develop ‘social love’. Each Thursday during our ‘social distancing’ at 8pm we share a positive gesture showing thanks to the NHS. What other gestures are communities in Belfast making? What positive gestures can I take to show my gratitude and care to those that I share my home with/live with? What positive gestures can I take to show my gratitude and care to one person outside my family that I depend on – this could be in school/ shops/ or my community. Choose one meal today list others who made your meal possible – start with the growing of the food itself. Take a few minutes to say thank you. Write a 5 - point plan of how you will put in place a habit-...

READ MORE

Befriending planet earth with Pope Francis

May 2020 will be remembered for Coved-19 and its    impact on our community. The ‘stay at home’ rule means that we have time to notice more, to appreciate more and this includes nature and our surroundings.  In Laudato Si’ Pope Francis suggests that if we really see the beauty in nature then we will do all in our power to protect it. Both the smallest plant and animal, part of our common home, are a source of ‘wonder and awe’.  This time of ‘social distancing,’ difficult as it is for many, allows us some time to reflect and ‘to seek a new beginning’, and take more care of the earth. C 1. Caring for planet earth while ‘Social Distancing’ Lord, purge our eyes to see within the seed a tree, within the glowing egg a bird, Within the shroud a butterfly. Till taught by such, we see Beyond all creatures Thee. Christina Rosetti. Look and See This morning, at waterside, a sparrow flew to a water rock and landed, by error, on the back of an eider duck; lightly it fluttered off, amused. The duck, too, was not provoked, but, you might say, was laughing. This afternoon a gull sailing over our house was casually scratching its stomach of white feathers with one pink foot as it flew. Oh Lord, how shining and festive is your gift to us, if we only look, and see. Mary Oliver Study the picture and the poems. What are they saying to you about our planet? Notice something beautiful locally, e.g. - bird, dog/cat, tree/ flower, butterfly. Take photographs/make a video clip, include some music or birdsong for the background. Describe how this exercise helps you appreciate God’s creation. C 2. Social distancing is giving us time to examine our lifestyles. “The earth, our home,...

READ MORE

Read More

Read More – Laudato Si’ Week May 16-24th 2020 ‘May our struggles and our concern for this planet never take away the joy of our hope’ (Paragraph 244) 2020 the year to stop and make us think 2. We have unfortunately allowed plastic, in particular, to come into our lives, ‘almost unnoticed, like a mist seeping gently beneath a closed door.’ Laudato Si’ (Paragraph 112) 3. Song : ‘Who’s gonna stand up? (And save the earth)’ Neil Young 4. A Readers Guide to Laudato Si’ 5. Further quotations from Pope Francis in ‘Laudato Si’ Together we can solve the problem ‘Everything in the environment thus needs to be joined to a sincere love for our fellow human beings and an unwavering commitment to resolving the problems of society.’ (Paragraph 92) The earth’s resources are for all Whether believers or not, we are agreed today that the earth is essentially a shared inheritance, whose fruits are meant to benefit everyone.  (Paragraph 93) We humans and other creatures depend on each other Creatures exist only in dependence on each other, to complete each other, in the service of each other.  (Paragraph 86) The Church has two duties to care for nature and protect humans from themselves The work of the Church seeks not only to remind everyone of the duty to care for nature, but at the same time “she must above all protect mankind from self-destruction.”  (Paragraph 79) The well-being of all is dependent on each one of us living a balanced lifestyle Inner peace is closely related to care for ecology and for the common good… because it is reflected in a balanced lifestyle together with a capacity for wonder which takes us to a deeper understanding of life.  (Paragraph 225) ‘May our struggles and our concern for this planet...

READ MORE

God’s Creation, Man’s Destruction

God has given us a beautiful world of mountains and lakes, waterfalls and other incredible sights of breath-taking sceneries day and night. But nowadays in some parts of the world instead of northern lights and aurora borealis that people enjoy in the middle of darkness, we see bombs or missiles light up the sky. Instead of the calming sound of the waterfalls and running streams, we hear the frightening sounds of firearms or explosions at unexpected times. Instead of quiet peace we hear the screams of terror, death and chaos, the muffled cries of children and the poignant march of mourning. What have we done to ourselves? What happened to the peace and harmony in the Garden? Where have we gone wrong? When will we respond to Pope Francis plea of respecting and sharing the goods of the earths and its creatures, treating each other as brothers and sisters with God as our Father? Why do we create barriers that isolate rather than open arms? Let us welcome the stranger, straighten and strengthen the paths to peace and unity, rebuild the bridges of harmony then we can witness the Gospel of joy, mercy and love. Caridad Tatayon DC

Christian spirituality

“Christian spirituality proposes a growth marked by moderation and the capacity to be happy with little. It is a return to that simplicity which allows us to stop and appreciate the small things, to be grateful for the opportunities which life affords us, to be spiritually detached from what we possess, and not to succumb to sadness for what we lack.”  222 Laudato Si When I reached my mission in a remote, mountainous village in Kenya 15 years ago I was impressed by the moderation in all things and the contentment of the people. This was probably a result of the culture as well as the geographical location far away from any big market. In fact it was rare for people to go to a big market town, especially for women. Televisions were not available to display and advertise the outside world. There was no litter in the town, not because rubbish was collected, but rather every container was too precious to be discarded. In a short while I   began to feel very rich with so much stuff, relative to my neighbours. Six years later when I moved to the edge of Kitale town and my neighbours lived in slum like conditions the feeling of richness intensified. What must it be like to eat just once a day because of poverty due to unemployment and lack of resources, and to depend on your neighbour for water and a toilet? In Kitale people knew much about the outside world, a world beyond reach, through television. It is easy to understand why people want to migrate to a longed-for better life. When I go to the supermarket, I wonder who the other shoppers are and the source of their income. It annoys me to see products that would be easily processed in…

READ MORE

All Creatures of the Earth, Bless the Lord

God speaks to us through events, situations, nature and people. Pope Francis, in LAUDATO SI, chapter 6 about ecological education and spirituality, is inviting us to care for our common home and he has given us important insights. We need to have awareness, changing our way of living and thinking how to protect our common home to have sustainable development; we need to do more from what we are doing at present. Educating those who are working at home with us and at workplaces by being good examples on how to care for the environment and this will be a practical way of caring for our common home. As individuals and community, we need to be responsible and to have vision how to protect and recycle waste materials, decaying vegetation can be used for manure in our garden instead of buying and   using chemical fertilizers. I feel that we have to show more responsibility to care for our common home. What Pope Francis is encouraging us is to open our eyes to see how nature has an important place in our lives. When I reflect on the Wild China film that we watched recently, I was touched to see how the Tibet community is very close to nature, respecting the environment, giving reverence to the wildlife and living in harmony with nature. The more we care for the nature/environment the more we respect the life of human beings. Then if we truly love and care for our natural resources, we will find beauty within us and in every creature. And this will enable us to see God in everything. Nigisti Zeray DC  

The Gaze of Jesus

The Gaze of Jesus When I first read Laudato Si, my heart anchored within the section, “The Gaze of Jesus”. Perhaps this is because I, too, find myself ‘gazing’ more than at other moments in my life. Maybe I am coming to see the realities I face within a light not realized before, and I hope this light to be the gaze of Jesus, who in His seeing, deepened his awareness of the felt mutual love between himself and his Father. This deepening came through what he saw in what was happening. Recently our Community and staff in Thigio had a Fun Day centring on our special needs program, calling together both intellectually/physically challenged adults and children with their guardians and parents. Over 200 attended this glorious “Praise be to you!” event! Bursting forth from our gate, we marched down to the main town, danced our way along the new tarmac road, singing, drumming, blowing horns, gathering so many storekeepers to join, applaud! Many helped in the pushing of 13 wheelchairs up the still rocky roads, back to the field….and so much more! Those of us who were weeping in such heartfelt joy, gazed on this event, with the gaze, surely, of Jesus, who sees in these struggling men, women and children not “one forgotten by God!” Maybe Laudato Si is inviting me to see in the midst of the suffering planet in all its complexities the sure gaze and embrace of Jesus risen! I can dance in his gaze! Pat Beyreu DC

One World, One Home, One Family

One World, One Home, One Family Praise be to you O Lord as we attempt with all our sisters and brothers to continue to appreciate the beauty of your creation and preserve it for all those who come after us.  We are not    indifferent to our families, sisters and brothers, whether in our immediate family or universally. We respect and appreciate our roles as a family, as a unit of society and community.  This interest is not limited to one family or one community but to all families and all communities. We are called as Christians to sustain and promote actions and behaviors that are for the good of the human race, those things that have as a consequence peace and justice for everyone.  What a challenge!  Sometimes it is   difficult to do the right thing just for my family, let alone the whole human race.  Our acts that violate the common good can no longer be tolerated or practiced.  As we are reminded by the document Laudato Si we are to share and venerate our “beautiful mother” – earth, with peoples of all countries no matter what! A challenge?  Definitely! Something to practice in our personal behaviors?  Yes! Lord, we rely on your graces to “praise you O Lord” as citizens of this wonderful world you have given us.  Amen. Karen Flaherty DC

Nature is not a place to visit, it is home

“Nature is not a place to visit, it is home” (Environmental protection policy)  The more we treat and protect our common home not only benefits us but we believe that someone else, future generations, will also gain great benefit. When we look deep into nature we           understand that it is free gift to us human beings and God is present in each and every piece of creation. From my reflection the greatest gift we humans have to offer the rest of creation is our heartfelt appreciation and the ability to receive in thankfulness the blessings of life. I think it is each and every individual’s responsibility to have a genuine care for the earth and to enhance the quality and quantity of soil, water, trees and flowers that we have on our property. God created all of    nature in a unique way for human beings to find beauty and spiritual satisfaction within all created life. We are surrounded by beauty. As human beings we need to respect, love and protect our common home and stay close to nature. Nature is an image of God and God communicates to us through beauty, and the abundance and   creativity of nature. The more we love nature the more nature teaches us about beauty, abundant life and how we are all beautiful before of God. Our common home is threatened on all sides by all kinds of pollution. We, or nature, cannot survive without protecting and making the earth green. We need each other. Now is the time for the community and individuals to be hear a new call, to be aware of our common home and commit to our common duty to promote education and awareness about the environment as Pope Francis has encouraged us to do. Tigist Rufael DC

Mother Nature

It helps now and then to step back and have a long view……………. “Pointing to the cracks in the planet that we inhabit as well as the human causes of environmental degradation.”  Laudato Si (Page 92) “Although this reality has shown the need for change of direction,” Laudato Si (Page 92) we assume it is beyond our efforts and vision. No statement fully explains all that technology has done to the environment. No confessions fully bring about understanding the destruction by the use of coal and oil. No programme has fully come up with a “lesser evil” Laudato Si (Page 93) or found short term positive solutions for our environment. Let us plant seeds that will grow, let’s join hands with groups like, “Basel Convention, Binding Convention, Vienna Convention and    protect Mother Nature. Laudato Si (Page 94). We may never see the end result, but we can make a difference and that is what matters. Celestine Mwalale DC

Reflection

The psalms frequently exhort us to praise God the Creator “for his steadfast love endures forever”. They also invite other creatures to join us in this praise: “Praise him, sun and moon, praise him all you shining stars!   Laudato Si #72  When I worked in Ethiopia there was a beautiful book portraying, through photos, the richness and cultural diversity of the country. It was entitled “Under Ethiopian Skies” and it was this phrase that came to mind when I stood alone at night looking up at the sky contemplating the vibrant beauty and grandeur of the heavens – the imminent presence of the creator God. I felt both privileged and humbled. Our God was truly “in the heavens” and yet just as truly a part of my world and my life. Now in Kenya I think more of under African skies. The sense of awe has not left me and at night or early morning, when the sun is coming up and the moon has not quite disappeared, I feel eager to greet my God and allow God to greet me in whatever appearance is chosen for that particular time and day; red skies, pastel hues, full moons, shifting clouds, or a shining myriad of stars, all beautifully accompanied by the dawn chorus or the cricket cantata depending on the time of day. There is beautiful simplicity in the encounter. I just am, and God just is – a wonderful counter balance to the complexities of life; of work, of relationships, that can sometimes overtake me. It is good to sit in the chapel in the early hours to contemplate God in the Blessed Sacrament, to savour the stillness and quiet, but it is also good to experience God’s presence and universal love in the created world. As the eyes…

READ MORE

Our Vulnerable World

“War always does grave harm to the environment and to the cultural riches of the people, risks which are magnified when one considers nuclear arms and biological weapons” Laudato Si’ 56-57  I am writing this reflection as we enter Holy Week. It is also a week after the horrendous suffering inflicted on the people of Syria by the use of chemical weapons. Etched forever in my mind will be the picture of the young Syrian Muslim father who had just buried his whole family, including his young wife and their little 10-month old twins. He said to the reporter “I know Allah takes revenge, but Allah what did my two little sweethearts do?” as tears flowed in torrents from his eyes.  Why, where is God? It is a question as old as humanity itself: Why do the innocent suffer? I couldn’t help but hear Jeremiah say to God “Lord you duped me, and I let myself be duped”. Nevertheless, Jeremiah and countless people in every time and place remained faithful in the face of horrendous suffering and enigmatic questions. When we look to Jesus on the cross, we hear him cry in his total disbelief that he could be forgotten “My God, my God why have you forsaken me” Pain, suffering and the seeming absence of God accompany all our lives at different times and to varying degrees. We look for answers that echo a deep resonance in the struggle of our own souls so that our trust can be deep, and our faith and hope grow strong.  It is Jesus’ cross that gives meaning to every cross, Jesus’ resurrection that is the source of Christian hope. Our Vincentian charism calls us to stand at the foot of many people’s crosses as we reach out in service. As our personal…

READ MORE

Living Laudato Si

The encyclical Laudato Si was publicized for everyone on the planet on June 18, 2016.  The title means “Praise be to You,” invites everyone to care for our Common Home that God has given us. More than reading Laudato Si we are called to live Laudato Si. In Our Family: “In the family we first learn how to show love and respect for life; we are taught the proper use of things, order and cleanliness, respect for the local ecosystems and care for all creatures.”  No. 213 This is a belief formed in us from our childhood.  We need to deepen this conviction by our awareness of all creatures and the ecosystems that keep our world in good order.  Our prayers for our world need to include this Intention. In Our Spiritual Life: “Christian spirituality proposes a growth marked by moderation and the capacity to be happy with little.  It is a return to that simplicity which allows us to stop and appreciate the small things.” No. 222  Simplicity is a Vincentian characteristic; we are called to be simple and to appreciate all of God’s creation.  Let us pray for a deepening of our capacity to be happy with little. In Our Spending: “Many people know that our current progress and the mere amassing of things and pleasures are not enough to give meaning and joy to the human heart, yet they feel unable to give up what the market sets before them.” No. 209 To give meaning and joy to our lives we need to continue to grow in our need for little.  The little joys can be the greatest if we focus on what is before us rather than look for what is in the marketplace. In Our Parish: “Social problems must be addressed by community networks and not…

READ MORE

Water is Life

Water is precious, essential for our life, nature, animals. and all of God’s creation. Let us give thanks to God for water so precious and scarce for many. Each drop so small but is life giving for all. Our life began in the life-giving waters of our mother’s womb. Draw us deeper Jesus into the wellspring of our own being, where the calm water is crystal clear, wanting to soak into every pore of our being to fill us completely. The waters of life touch us daily in the beauty of nature, a smile, a word, a letter, a gift, a meal, a prayer, a song, and the poor if we are open to these precious ways Jesus makes Himself known. “There is mystical meaning to be found in a leaf, in a mountain trail, in a dewdrop, in a poor person’s face.” Laudato Si Page (126). May our river of life converge with all rivers of life. All our rivers of life will then flow into the sea, a larger body of water. Where does this water begin or come from that forms the ocean depths?  Morning dew is water of life and mists rolling in from the sea. The drop of rain becomes the torrential storm, flowing into soil, rivers and seas refreshing, cleansing all. In the same way may our rivers of life bless and refresh others on life’s journey. Let us preserve water, not    wasting it knowing people lack clean water. Keep it pure and clean by taking action together to clean our water sources.   Anita Hubrich DC

The Garden of the World

St. Francis faithful to the Scripture, invites us to see nature as a magnificent book in which God speaks to us and grants us a glimpse of his infinite beauty and goodness. Laudato Si, paragraph 12 One rainy evening after a long dry spell I was walking around the house under the shelter of the gutters, watching the rain pour down on the parched, cracked earth.  I was suddenly attracted by the raindrops which had gathered like crystal clear diamonds on the up-turned, receptive leaves of the nasturtiums. As the leaves came to life and danced in the breeze it was possible to sense their sheer delight and hear their song of joy and thanksgiving. What a             wonderful gift from God.  I looked at the myriad of crystal clear drops like jewels and reflected on the purity, simplicity, sheer beauty and the power they had to transform and re-enliven those wilted leaves. I thought of the concern and love of the creator God for all creation. I thought of the places of drought and remembered the many people deprived of clean water, those who have to settle for a drink of contaminated water to quench their thirst and the consequences of this for them. I felt called again to look at the careless way I sometimes use water and other gifts of God’s creation. It was a reminder to me to keep constantly before my mind the command of God to ‘till and keep the garden of the world which means caring, protecting, overseeing and preserving to ensure its fruitfulness for coming generations.’ Laudato Si, paragraph 67 May my hands and heart be uplifted to receive from God.  May I too dance with the raindrops of God’s abundant, unmerited mercies falling on me and when I do not see any…

READ MORE

Resurrection Hope

The waters of the ocean are polluted with micro beads, plastic bags and other rubbish from our excess. In more recent days these same waters are choked with the bodies of our brothers and sisters fleeing horrendous violence. The air that we breathe is hazardous to our health. Mountains and beaches, forests and fields, once places of solitude and retreat have become mine fields soaked with the blood of modern day martyrs. Jesus who knocks at our door in the guise of the refugee, poor and vulnerable is turned away time and time again with walls, and fences, angry words and acts of hatred and fear. In the midst of this desolate scene Christians are called to hope, to hold on to hope and to be hope. We are called to the hope that pushes a blade of grass through concrete, the hope that brings a dead tree to life after an endless and unrelenting winter, the hope of a mother that continues to search for her child in the rubble of a blown up building long after other searchers have given up, the hope of cross and tomb given over to resurrection.  Deborah Mallott, DC

Climate Change

When I think of the beautiful scenery which I have been privileged to see, I am filled with a sense of wonder and joy. With gratitude I ask the Lord to watch over His creatures despite our negligence. But I can’t stop thinking, now more than ever, how long we human beings will be able to enjoy such beauty. “Yahweh God took the man and settled him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate and take care of it.” (Gen. 2:15) Does my activity as an individual contribute to natural disasters as stated in Laudato Si? Or is there a chance for me to alter this    disaster with little I can offer? Do I feel responsible as a steward to God’s creation? The Pope reminds us that the ecological destruction is the result of our modern technology, our life style, industrialization, urbanization, the use of fossil fuel, deforestation, the culture of throwing away etc., etc. Scientists are of the opinion that global warming is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gas released by human activity. All these signals of global warming are to make us aware that if we do not change we will destroy the world and ourselves. Some show concern while others ignore them. In any case, my heart goes out to the developing countries who will be affected the most yet have no resources to adapt or cope with natural disasters. Chemical weapons used in wars and the nuclear missile race disturb me.     Displacement and tragic famine will affect health or be the cause of loss of lives. Those who survive war or famine are left with hopelessness and helplessness. Lord have mercy is my prayer. Trees contribute to keep the composition of the air as they produce oxygen and prevent soil erosion. More trees will…

READ MORE

Plant a Tree!

The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2004, Pro. Wangari Mathai, has left Kenya and indeed the whole world an example of how to grow towards sustainable development, democracy, and peace. Her idea gave birth to the Green Belt movement that has led to planting of millions of trees in Kenya and conservation of various natural habitats. Here is an excerpt from a press release; “Peace on earth depends on our ability to secure our living environment. Wangari Mathai stands at the front of the fight to promote ecologically viable social, economic, and cultural development in Kenya and in Africa. She has taken a holistic approach to sustainable development that embraces democracy, human rights and women’s rights in particular. She thinks globally and acts locally”. Her message, strongly passed to us by her actions, is more relevant now than ever, echoing the Words of Pope Francis, “Human beings too are creatures of this world, enjoying right to life and happiness, and endowed with unique dignity. So, we cannot fail to consider the effects on peoples’ lives of environmental deterioration, current models of development and the throwaway culture” (Laudato Si, Paragraph 43) Everybody’s contribution counts; plant one more tree, close a running tap, carry your basket to the supermarket, all these small acts lead to the replenishing of our Mother Earth, at least partly. Rodah Mose Bonareri DC  

Our Common Home

Earlier this year the sisters, students and priests of the Vincentian Family in Chanzo and De Paul, inspired by Laudato Si, decided to clean and clear the “De Paul” river as a sign and symbol of our concern for Mother Earth. Mother Earth who “sustains and governs us”. The encyclical also reminds us that the violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is reflected in the damage to soil, water, and air and to all forms of life. We are called, therefore, to change our lifestyle in order to combat global warming and to take account of the effects of deforestation for agriculture purposes and the loss of tropical forests, all of which impact climate change. It is a global problem with implications for the environment, social, economic and political systems and for a fair distribution of the goods of the earth. This is a huge challenge today and one that affects mostly people living in poverty who are forced to endure harsh conditions that deny them their human dignity. Many cities have become unhealthy to live in as a result of urban chaos, unworkable infrastructure, poor transportation, pollution and noise and planning that allows multiple slums. This is contrary to the teachings of the Gospel which demands that all people be treated with dignity.  For the Vincentian family this is a call to become change agents and transformers especially for the people who are poor and whom we meet and serve each and every day. How am I preserving and caring for our common home? How conscious am I of my daily responsibility to build up and care for our ‘common home’? Have I done one single action this day that nourishes the environment? Esther Mbevo DC

A Healthy Relationship with Creation

The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all, a collective good, the patrimony of all humanity and the responsibility of everyone. If we make something our own, it is only to administer it for the good of all. If we do not, we burden our consciences with the weight of having denied the existence of others. The external deserts in the world are growing, because the internal deserts have become numerous”. Ecological crisis today summons a profound interior conversion which will lead to an “ecological conversion”, whereby the effects of an encounter with Jesus Christ become   evident in our relationship with the world around us; Living our vocation as protectors of God’s handiwork. In Saint Francis of Assisi, we discover that a healthy relationship with creation is one dimension of overall personal conversion; it   entails the recognition of our errors, sins, faults and failures, and leads to sincere repentance and desire to change. We need to            reconcile with creation by examining our lives and acknowledging the ways in which we have harmed God’s creation through our actions and our failure to act.  In Gen 1:28, God gave humanity the responsibility to care for the earth, that command does not give us the right to destroy creation but to make it fruitful and for our own good.  In the order of creation these creatures existed before man, for the good and protection of man The Inter-Assembly            Document 2015-2021 “The Boldness of Charity for a new Missionary Momentum” calls us to change our life style in witnessing to all God’s creatures and creation at large: boldness in caring for the earth that serve our needs and help us to respond to the needs of the poor. There ought to exist a symbiotic relationship between humankind and other…

READ MORE

The Garden of the World  

St. Francis faithful to the Scripture, invites us to see nature as a magnificent book in which God speaks to us and grants us a glimpse of his infinite beauty and goodness. Laudato Si, paragraph 12 One rainy evening after a long dry spell I was walking around the house under the shelter of the gutters, watching the rain pour down on the parched, cracked earth. I was suddenly attracted by the raindrops which had gathered like crystal clear diamonds on the up-turned, receptive leaves of the nasturtiums. As the leaves came to life and danced in the breeze it was possible to sense their sheer delight and hear their song of joy and thanksgiving. What a wonderful gift from God. I looked at the myriad of crystal clear drops like jewels and reflected on the purity, simplicity, sheer beauty and the power they had to transform and re-enliven those wilted leaves. I thought of the concern and love of the creator God for all creation. I thought of the places of drought and remembered the many people deprived of clean water, those who have to settle for a drink of contaminated water to quench their thirst and the consequences of this for them. I felt called again to look at the careless way I sometimes use water and other gifts of God’s creation. It was a reminder to me to keep constantly before my mind the command of God to ‘till and keep the garden of the world which means caring, protecting, overseeing and preserving to ensure its fruitfulness for coming generations.’ Laudato Si, paragraph 67 May my hands and heart be uplifted to receive from God. May I too dance with the raindrops of God’s abundant, unmerited mercies falling on me and when I do not see any…

READ MORE