Laudato Si’ week in New Zealand

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At St Therese Parish, Three KIngs on Tuesday 14th June took part in the Global Catholic Climate Movement’s celebration of the anniversary of Laudato Si’.

Friar Thobias Harman talked about his work as part of the Eco-Pastoral team in Flores, Indonesia. The Eco-Pastoral project helps farmers improve on their traditional farming practices avoiding the cost and damage of commercial fertilizers. Over 500 farmers are part of the Eco-Pastoral project and they come together to share their farming practices with each other. The Eco-Pastoral project also encourages the planting of herbal gardens near to their homes to provide ready-access to nutritional food and traditional medicines. School children are given an education in agricultural methods, a subject not covered in the local syllabus, and they are involved in tree planting to protect local water sources and prevent erosion. The Eco-Pastoral team take the Gospel to the farmers in the fields and celebrates liturgies of thanksgiving and hope at times of planting and harvest.

Friar Joe McKay talked about Pope Francis’ fundamental points in Laudato Si’. The encyclical repeats previous Catholic Social teaching about the need for the dignity of human beings to be upheld. Pope Francis questions how the current “techno-economic paradigm” through which we see the world has created a blindness that has allowed a throw-away culture to develop. We not only throw away things but across the world there is a tendency to throw-away people, especially the poor, indigenous communities and the unborn. Pope Francis is encouraging us to have dialogue between the various ways we see the world so that we ca see more clearly God’s work and our authentic place in it. That includes the contribution of Christian theology and contemplative prayer and fast disappearing indigenous cultures.

Pope Francis states that it is the same fundamental cause, the lack of love, that creates poverty and damages the environment. Pope Francis asks us to adopt an attitude of graciousness and undergo an “ecological conversion” as a way of expressing our love for God and his creation.

The Global Catholic Climate Movement was founded by the Franciscan Action Network in the USA. It is supported by Catholic Earthcare Australia, Caritas in Australia & Aotearoa and many Franciscan Provinces across the world. The GCCM website has some good resources on practical application of Laudato Si’ for parishes and communities.

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