Hope is so important in the context of humanity’s destructive relationship with the natural world. We’ve recently seen multiple impacts caused by human-induced climate change and biodiversity collapse worldwide. These include European rivers drying up, drought and food shortages in East Africa, China experiencing its worst ever heatwave and wildfires. Our Columban colleagues in Pakistan’s Sindh province reported 90% of it being underwater in late August after exceptional Monsoon deluges.
Ellen Teague of Columban JPIC writes in her editorial: “We must stand up to be counted about things we can do and also to embrace gratitude for the blessing of our amazing Planet Earth.” This year’s annual conference of the National Justice and Peace Network of England and Wales took the theme, ‘Hope is a verb with its sleeves rolled up.’ On the final day participants were invited in groups to do artwork on hopeful pathways for the future. Ideas included education to recognise the interconnectedness of issues, good public transport and green buildings. We cannot leave these problems to our young people to solve, suggested participants; that is irresponsible.
The newsletter highlights a Columban collaborator in South Korea who campaigns to retain a clean and unpolluted environment in the city of Samcheok, and from a Columban Faith in Action Volunteer in Britain who reports her involvement in citizenship education. There is information about ‘Jubilee for the Earth’, a podcast mini-series about biodiversity, produced by the Columbans for the Season of Creation. Twelve episodes explore biodiversity and a related issue like economic justice, young people, migration, and other topics related to Catholic Social Teaching. And the Columbans are delighted to launch their 2023 Schools Competition on the theme of, ‘Building Peaceful Futures’.
The centrespread provides advocacy suggestions for COP27 on Climate Change in November and COP15 on Biodiversity in December. A Columban delegation will attend the latter in Canada.
The cover photo is ‘Gaia in Nidaros Cathedral’, taken during a muti-faith and multi-ethnic summer festival focusing on Hope in Trondheim, Norway. The particular emphasis on ‘hope’ was centred on refugees and migrants – with a strong message of reducing push factors in home countries by advocacy and action on peacemaking and care of creation. Faith communities were urged to welcome those seeking a safe, secure and better life.
‘Vocation for Justice’ is a 12-page magazine sent out three times a year since 1986 to around 7,000 readers. The Columban editorial team comprises Ellen Teague (Media), James Trewby (Education), Fr. Daniel O’Malley and Roberta Kim