As the former Columban Superior General, Fr Kevin O’Neill, said in 2018: “The Columban commitment to justice, peace and the integrity of creation has been integral to our missionary identity from our earliest days.” In 2015, Pope Francis released his encyclical letter Laudato Si‘: On Care for Our Common Home, which offers a profound vision for responding to the cries of the poor and Earth. This vision continues to inspire millions of people across the world. The Pope says, “We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affects us all” (Laudato Si’ #14).
So, ‘Laudato Si’ has become a landmark Encyclical, a game changer. And on the 5th anniversary of its publication, a year of celebration was instigated from May 2020 to May 2021, which ends, now, with a final Laudato Si’ Week 16-25 May.
The weeklong event will celebrate the great progress the global Church has made in its ecological conversion journey during the past six years and offer a clear road map for the decade ahead. We know that much remains to be done, but we rejoice and celebrate the steps we have taken so far, and we look to the future with hope.
Columbans work collaboratively to seek a sustainable future for all and were founding members of the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) in 2015, a network of Catholic organisations supporting formation in the connection between faith and planetary crises and addressing global warming. Pope Francis’ encyclical letter Laudato Si’ is the pivotal document of GCCM. Ellen Teague and Fr Charles Rue were at one of the first meetings of GCCM held during the Paris climate talks in 2015. Amy Echeverria, the Central Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation coordinator for Columbans, based in Washington DC, was the Founding President of GCCM, and Columban Fr John Leydon (Philippines) is a current member of GCCM’s Steering Committee. In the Philippines, GCCM Pilipinas is a very active group supported by the leadership of Columban Lay Missionary John Din. The group have been partners with the Catholic Bishops in the Philippines, who, in March 2021, launched a national Laudato Si’ Program, which will be implemented in all dioceses across the country.
Laudato Si’ week is an opportunity for us to remind ourselves of what Pope Francis says in the Encyclical, and of the commitment asked for, which is to a personal ecological conversion.
How do we do that? Well, help is at hand. Just go to http://www.laudatosiweek.org for a page of events that are taking place every day starting on 16– 25 May. You will be able to register for any events that interest you. A word of warning – times are in Central European Time (CET) and we are one hour earlier, so 2pm CET is 1pm to us.
View the complete Laudato Si’ Week 2021 schedule and sign up for updates here.
22 May UN Biodiversity Day. The Columbans have produced ‘Jubilee for the Earth,’ a podcast mini-series about the beauty of biodiversity and the threats it faces, bringing insights from the 16 countries where they are on mission. View it here.
26 June – 4 July – London Climate Action Week
29 June – Online schools’ assembly
1 September – World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.
1 September- 4 October – Season of Creation
5 September – Climate Sunday National event at Glasgow Cathedral – Climate Sunday ecumenical project Mass resource
September- November: International Climate Pilgrims travelling to Glasgow
1-12 November UN Climate Conference COP 26 in Glasgow