Integral ecology

Pope invites you to participate in this month's Laudato si' Week

The call to care for Creation is constant in Pope Francis. Now he invites everyone to Laudato si' Week, which will take place from May 16 to 24, 6 years after the encyclical, with the slogan "We know that things can change".

Rafael Miner-May 4, 2021-Reading time: 5 minutes
laudato si

Photo: Federico Burgalassi/ Unsplash

Laudato si' Week will be the culmination of the special year called by the Pope on May 24, 2020, the five-year anniversary of the promulgation of the encyclical on care for the common home, to "reflect on the encyclical."

In addition, Laudato Si' Week will be a time to think about what the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us and to prepare for the future with hope. To learn more about the contents of the event, can be consulted here.

In a brief video message, Pope Francis begins by asking: "What kind of world do we want to leave to those who succeed us, to the children who are growing up?" "I renew my urgent appeal to respond to the ecological crisis. The cry of the earth and the cry of the poor can take no more." The Holy Father then encourages everyone: "Let us take care of Creation, a gift of our good Creator God. Let us celebrate together Laudato Si' Week. May God bless you. And do not forget to pray for me".

Laudato si' 2021 Week is sponsored by the Vatican Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development and promoted by the World Catholic Climate Movement, in collaboration with Renova+, Caritas Internationalis, CIDSE, the International Union of Superiors General, the Union of Superiors General, the Society of Jesus and the General Office for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation of the Friars Minor, along with other partners.

Prayer for this special year

At the convocation of this special year, held on May 24 last year, Pope Francis invited "all people of good will to unite in caring for our common home and for our most fragile brothers and sisters". And he announced a prayer dedicated to this year, noting that "it will be beautiful to pray it." It is as follows:

"Loving God,

Creator of heaven, earth and all that is in it.

Open our minds and touch our hearts, that we may be part of creation, your gift.

Be present to those in need in these difficult times, especially to the poorest and most vulnerable.

Help us show creative solidarity to address the consequences of this global pandemic.

Make us courageous to embrace changes aimed at the pursuit of the common good.

Now more than ever, may we feel that we are all interconnected and interdependent.

Do in such a way that we may hear and respond to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.

May the present sufferings be the birth pangs of a more fraternal and sustainable world.

Under the loving gaze of Mary Help of Christians, we pray for Christ our Lord.

Amen.

As is known, the papal encyclical, dated May 24, 2015, began thus:

"Laudato si', mi' Signore" - "Praise be to you, my Lord," sang St. Francis of Assisi. In that beautiful canticle he reminded us that our common home is also like a sister, with whom we share existence, and like a beautiful mother who welcomes us in her arms: "Praise be to you, my Lord, for our sister mother earth, who sustains us, and governs us and produces various fruits with colorful flowers and grass".

"It's time to act!"

Last April 22, the Pope published a video message to join in the commemoration of Earth Day, a date established by the United Nations to strengthen global awareness of the interdependent relationship between human beings, living beings and the environment that surrounds them.

In the video, the Holy Father noted that for some time now humanity has been becoming more aware that nature "deserves to be protected," if only "for the fact that human interactions with the biodiversity that God has given us must be done with the utmost care and respect." "When the destruction of nature is unleashed, it is very difficult to stop it," the Pope said.

Lessons from the pandemic

The Pontiff also stressed the importance of caring for biodiversity and nature, something that in this time of pandemic we have learned much more about:

"This pandemic has shown us what happens when the world stops, pauses, even if only for a few months. And the impact that this has on nature and climate change, with a sadly positive force, right? In other words, it hurts."

Similarly, the Pope said that the arrival of Covid-19, "which affects us all, albeit in multiple and diverse ways," also shows us "that global nature needs our lives on this planet, while teaching us more about what we need to do to create a just, equitable and environmentally safe planet," the official Vatican agency reported.

The Holy Father added that this new global challenge posed by the current health crisis teaches us the value of interdependence, "this sharing of the planet." 

For the Pope, both global catastrophes, the pandemic and the climate catastrophe, "show that we no longer have time to wait. That time is pressing and that, as Covid-19 taught us, we do have the means to meet the challenge. We have the means. Now is the time to act, we are at the limit".

Francis concluded by calling for unity to launch an appeal to the world's leaders to "act with courage, with justice and to always tell the truth to the people, so that people know how to protect themselves from the destruction of the planet and how to protect the planet from the destruction that we too often cause."

"The adversity that we are experiencing with the pandemic, and that we already feel in climate change, should spur us on, should push us to innovation, to invention, to seek new paths. We do not come out of a crisis in the same way, we come out of it better or worse. This is the challenge, and if we do not come out better off, we are on the road to self-destruction," the Pope added.

Challenge and opportunity, according to Msgr. Gallagher

In June last year, on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the encyclical Laudato Si', the Secretary for Relations with the States of the Holy See, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, gave a lecture at the presentation of the document "On the Way to Care for the Common Home", prepared by the Holy See's Interdicasterial Bureau on Integral Ecology.

"The Covid-19 pandemic pushes us even more to make the socio-economic, ecological and ethical crisis we are experiencing a propitious moment for conversion and for making concrete and urgent decisions, as is evident in the text that you have before you," Bishop Gallagher began.

"For this, we need an operational proposal, which in this case is integral ecology," he said. And this ecology requires, in his opinion, an "integral vision of life to best develop policies, indicators, research and investment processes, evaluation criteria, avoiding erroneous conceptions of development and growth"; and a "vision of the future, which must be concretized in the places and spaces where education and culture are cultivated and transmitted, awareness is created, political, scientific and economic responsibility is formed and, in general, responsible action is taken."

This represents, said Archbishop Gallagher, a demanding challenge, but also a very timely opportunity to "design and build together a future that sees us united in the stewardship of the life we have been given and in the cultivation of the creation entrusted to us by God so that we can make it bear fruit without excluding or discarding any of our brothers and sisters."

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