I acknowledge and thank the Lkwungen People
for allowing me to live, pray, work, and play on their lands. I am deeply sorry for the injustices inflicted upon the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Turtle Island by the complicity of settlers and the Catholic Church in the colonialism inherent in the Indian Act and Residential Schools including racism, neglect, many forms of abuse & cultural genocide.
I commit to work for truth, healing and reconciliation.
LAUDATO SI’ WEEK 2022
Laudato Si’ 13: “Everything is connected”
Until recently, the planet was a large world in which human activities and their effects were neatly compartmentalized within nations, within sectors (energy, agriculture, trade), and within broad areas of concern (environmental, economic, social). These compartments have begun to dissolve. This applies in particular to the various global ‘crises’ that have seized public concern particularly over the past decade. These are not separate crises: an environmental crisis, a development crisis, an energy crisis. They are all one. 1
1 The World Commission on Environment and Development, Our Common Futures, Oxford University Press, Oxford, England, 1987, p. 4.”
According to the Vatican, 15 families were selected to write the Stations of the Cross meditations to mark the Amoris Laetitia Family Year, which will conclude on 26 June with the 10th edition of the World Meeting of Families, to be held in Rome. The families were asked to write the series of prayers and reflections for the 14 stations based on their actual experiences carrying difficult “crosses” in life, such as the loss of a family member, infertility, illness and disability as well as migration, but who also seek hope in their faith.
For the 13th station, “Jesus dies on the Cross,” a Ukrainian family and a Russian family were to read a reflection that they wrote together about how their lives were upended by the pain of war. Ukrainian nurse Iryna [or Irina] and Russian nursing student Albina met and became friends while studying nursing and working at a Rome medical university campus. They had told Vatican News on April 11 that such friendships were common and many families are made up of the two nationalities, living in both or either country.
The war “is a tragedy that hits both people. I am certain that neither the Ukrainian people nor the Russian people want this war. Everyone wants a normal life,” said Iryna.
The original text of the meditation for the 13th Station of the Cross reflected on the horror of war, without mentioning Ukraine by name. It follows:
“Death everywhere. Life that seems to lose its value. Everything changes in a few seconds. Our life, our days, the carefree winter snow, bringing the children to school, work, embraces, friendships ... everything. Everything suddenly loses meaning and value.
‘Where are you Lord? Where are you hiding? We want our life back as before. Why all of this? What wrong did we do? Why have you forsaken us? Why have you forsaken our peoples? Why did you break up our families like this? Why do we no longer have the desire to dream and to go on living? Why has my land become as dark as Golgotha?’
We have no tears left. Anger has given way to resignation. We know that you love us, Lord, but we don’t feel this love and it drives us to desperation. We wake up in the morning and feel happy for a few moments, but then we suddenly think how difficult it will be to reconcile ourselves to all this.
Lord, where are you? Speak to us amid the silence of death and division, and teach us to be peacemakers, brothers and sisters, and to rebuild what bombs tried to destroy.”
This original plan for the Via Crucis 13th Station was strongly criticized by Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, who described it as “untimely.”
“For the Greek Catholics of Ukraine, the texts and gestures of the 13th station of this Way of the Cross are incoherent and even offensive, especially in the context of the expected second, even bloodier attack of Russian troops on our cities and villages,” he said.
Andrii Yurash, the Ukrainian ambassador to the Holy See, also expressed concern about the format. Bishop Vitaliy Kryvytskyi, the Latin Rite bishop of Kyiv-Zhytomyr, described it as “incomprehensible.” As John L. Allen Jnr wrote: “A consortium of Catholic media outlets in Ukraine actually refused to carry the Via Crucis ceremony in protest of the Russian/Ukrainian duo.”
Personally, I found the original reflection perfectly understandable and not at all offensive. I did not see a moral equivalence between Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression and Ukraine’s legitimate right to self-defence; indeed I was pleased it implicitly acknowledged that some hundreds of thousands of Russians oppose Putin’s war and have had to flee rather than face prison for protesting. Putin has called opponents un-patriotic scum and traitors.
But then I am neither Ukrainian nor do I live and suffer in Ukraine. But I had many Ukrainian friends in Montreal while at McGill and my daughter-in-law is partly Ukrainian and her mother, a Secular Franciscan, has Ukrainian roots; also I have attended and participated in their beautiful liturgies so I am very, very strongly pro-Ukrainian; but that makes me neither anti-Russian people, nor do I deny their culture and achievements. I am just against the war, pro-sanctions and wanting reparations for Ukraine and justice for war crimes.
That said, I agree with Major Archbishop Shevchuk’s arguments about what is necessary. I also strongly believe we can start now as individuals to bring about reconciliation especially for the many thousands of mixed Ukrainian/Russian families and Russian speaking Ukrainians [e.g. Zelensky himself] who oppose the war; reconciliation is never premature at the personal level.
Reacting to the suggestion that the gesture was an attempt to foster reconciliation between Russia and Ukraine, Shevchuk said that it was premature because several conditions must be met before reconciliation can be attempted. “The first condition would be: you must stop killing us,” he said. “We can’t speak of healing wounds while the enemy is still constantly wounding you. In order to reconcile, you have to be alive. That’s why I called this idea ‘untimely,’ not bad or erroneous, but untimely [my emphasis]. In order to achieve reconciliation in the future, we all need to work very hard. And until this is done, it is not yet the time to discuss verbal or dramatized acts of reconciliation, particularly between the Ukrainian and Russian people. [My comment: As mentioned earlier, the two women met and became friends while studying nursing and working in Rome. So surely if individuals want to start reconciliation now, then God bless them! As John L Allen Jnr put it: “To begin with, the pope undoubtedly sees the improbable friendship between Albina and Irina as a symbol of the capacity to see past nationality and ethnicity to recognize our common humanity, and thus as something worth celebrating – and its power is precisely that it comes now, while the conflict is at its peak.” As Sr Marge Wissman, OSF wrote: “ Over and over, Pope Francis has preached encounter, not confrontation, … dialogue, not debate”]
Because of the criticism, to which the Pope obviously listened and reacted, in place of the reflection written by the Russian and Ukrainian families, a reader merely said: “In the face of death, silence is more eloquent than words. Let us therefore pause in prayerful silence and each one in his heart pray for peace in the world.” What the Pope did not change was that, during the silence, the cross was held tightly by the two friends, Irina and Albina, who looked at each other as they held the cross with tears in their eyes.
The major archbishop was also asked why Pope Francis seems reluctant to condemn Russia by name for its aggression in Ukraine. [Because he has to leave the door open to being a mediator; nothing new in that. But I wonder if Pius XII would have mediated with Hitler? We know the Pope was not against tyrannicide regarding Hitler as the war dragged on and reports of the death camps spread.]
And I pray fervently that in this faith of ours, seeing these crimes, we will grow from raw human anger to righteous wrath, which will constantly disturb our conscience, not allowing us to forget, giving us no right to remain silent, no right to ever sit back passively for a moment.
We must be courageous, resilient and move towards victory.
And I wish this for all of us.”
The Pope offered a final prayer at the end of the Via Crucis, saying, “Take us by the hand, like a father, lest we stray from you. Turn our rebellious hearts to your own heart, so that we may learn to pursue plans of peace. Inspire adversaries to shake hands, and taste mutual forgiveness. Disarm the hand of brother raised against brother, so that where there is hatred, concord may flourish. Grant that we never act as enemies of the cross of Christ, so that we may share in the glory of his resurrection.”
I do not know the origin of the following prayer. It resonates very deeply with me; especially the parts I have underlined. I found it on my local Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church’s website as linked in this title:
PRAYER FOR THE AFFLICTED PEOPLE OF UKRAINE IN TIME OF WAR
“O Lord Jesus Christ, our God, we entreat You to hear the earnest prayer of Your beloved Church of Kyivan Rus’ for her deeply afflicted children abiding in the land of Ukraine. Behold their grave sorrow and grievous plight, and speedily come to their aid. Deliver Your vulnerable people from unjust aggressors, foreign invasion and the terror of war. Strengthen courageous defenders of the nation to fight virtuously, inspired more by love of those they protect than hatred of the enemy. O compassionate Lord, shelter the displaced, heal the wounded, console the orphan, protect the widow, comfort those who mourn, and mercifully receive into Your Kingdom those who have nobly died guarding their homeland against every aggression. Quickly make cease the spilling of blood of friend and foe alike, yet stir many to bravely struggle for that true justice which alone can bring lasting peace. O kind-hearted Lord, as You are our peace, soften the hearts of the unmerciful and convert those who promote hostilities toward reconciliation, so that Your beloved children of the land of Ukraine, may abide in that tranquility, justice and freedom which reflects your Kingdom, where You reign with Your eternal Father, and Your most holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now, and forever and ever. Amen.”
(N.B. The rectory of this church and priest’s family residence in Victoria, BC, was recently subject to an arson attack at night while the priest and his family were asleep upstairs; thank God they escaped. So far the culprits have not been found.)
He has an interesting background. Shyrokoradiuk was born into a Polish Roman-Catholic family in Kornachivka, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic on 23 June 1956. He graduated from a railway college, performed his compulsory service in the Red Army from 1974 to 1976, and also worked in factories. In 1980 he entered the Major Theological Seminary in Riga, Latvia, and one year later, he clandestinely joined the OFM. After completing his studies in theology and philosophy, he was ordained a priest on 4 June 1984. He returned to Ukraine in 1984 and worked as a parish priest from 1984 to 1994. He made his solemn profession as a Franciscan on 26 August 1988, again in secret. From 1996 to 2016 he was national director of Caritas-Spes Ukraine. In 2014 his diocese was split by the Russian annexation of Crimea and since 2022 further parts are under occupation by Russian invaders.
In Ukraine, the Secular Franciscan Community first appeared in the XIV century. It now has about 1,100 members, in about 50 communities of Roman Catholic parishes. Among them are people of different social backgrounds, different professions. Responding to the needs of modern society, the Order established a Franciscan School of Evangelization, which helps in the renovation of parishes and local OFS communities. The OFS spiritual assistant in Kiev and Ukraine is Fr Yuriy Zelinsky OFM(Cap).
We can only imagine what Franciscans in Ukraine feel about the situation and pray for them and indeed all those who live in Ukraine and elsewhere who suffer from the inhumanity of war.
They painted the message – and the Greenpeace symbol – in yellow paint before speeding away. Greenpeace has said that, since the start of Moscow’s war in Ukraine, EU nations have spent more than €33 billion on fossil fuel imports from Russia.
Idle No More started in November 2012, among Treaty People in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta protesting the Canadian government’s dismantling of environmental protection laws, endangering First Nations who live on the land. Born out of face-to-face organizing and popular education, but fluent in social media and new technologies, Idle No More has connected the most remote reserves to each other, to urbanized Indigenous people, and to the non-Indigenous population. Led by women, and with a call for refounded nation-to-nation relations based on mutual respect, Idle No More rapidly grew into an inclusive, continent-wide network of urban and rural Indigenous working hand in hand with non-Indigenous allies to build a movement for Indigenous rights and the protection of land, water, and sky.
Idle No More’s Vision: calls on all people to join in a peaceful revolution which honours and fulfills Indigenous sovereignty and which protects the land, the water, and the sky. Colonization continues through attacks to Indigenous rights and damage and harm to all our relations. We must repair these violations, live the spirit and intent of the treaty relationship, work towards justice in action, and protect Mother Earth.
On 21 June 2021, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act received Royal Assent and immediately came into force in Canada but it has not paved the way for settlement of all land claims; some are disputed by the Federal or a Provincial Government.
The Nuchatlaht First Nation is currently in a B.C. Supreme Court fight for official recognition of the rights and titles held solely by Nuchatlaht for thousands of years to 230 square kilometres of Nootka Island off the west coast of Vancouver Island. The Nuchatlaht’s lawsuit claims the B.C. and federal governments have denied their rights by approving logging and “effectively dispossessing” them of the land. The Nuchatlaht’s barrister Jack Woodward says their claim meets the test for
In 1990, The Oka Crisis, also known as the Kanesatake Resistance, was a 78-day standoff (11 July–26 September 1990) between Mohawk protesters, Quebec police, and the Canadian Army.
1. At The Water’s Edge, book and film by Mohawk author Sonia Bonspille Boileau
CBC's Oka 101 (6 mins 21 secs)
2. Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance (119 mins)
National Film Board of Canada, directed by Alanis Obomsawin - 1993
3. Then there were the two rebellions led by Métis Leader Louis Riel.
The annual celebration has become a way for all Catholics to unite and rejoice in the progress we’ve made in bringing Laudato Si’ to life and to commit ourselves to further prayer and action for our common home.
This year, with the theme of “Listening and Journeying Together” Catholics on six continents will work on “bringing the human family together to protect our common home” (LS 13), which is the guiding Laudato Si’ quote for the weeklong celebration. Catholics across the globe will unite their communities in action and learn more about how Laudato Si’ offers a blueprint on how to tackle the climate crisis. Globally, Catholics will come together as one family in prayer and action. Schedule of daily events: Laudato Si' Week 2022 events
I, Andrew, beg you: please join in this prayer and action as best you can in your parish & community. Be an advocate for us all to listen to the cry of the earth and cry of the poor for they are one, as the Québec & Canadian Bishops have said. I see nothing on the CCCB site about Laudato Si’ Week nor on my diocesan site. Pre-Covid my pastor had not even heard of it and seems to have forgotten what I told him about it. I and some new friends are going to remind him!
Such indifference has been noticed by young Catholics who are frustrated and dissatisfied. “Bishops and priests have largely failed to engage church teaching on creation care, and so far have approached climate change less as a matter of moral importance and more as a political flashpoint to be avoided.
Anna Robertson, director of youth and young adult mobilization with (the US) Catholic Climate Covenant, cited recent polling from the Springtide Research Institute showing that 74% of young Catholics (ages 13-25) are concerned about environmental issues, and a separate survey by the British medical journal The Lancet showed overall 84% of young people ages 16-25 globally are worried about climate change, with half reporting negative day-to-day impacts on their lives.
‘This is a huge concern, and this is a really pastoral crisis for our church,’ Robertson said. ‘Young people want to see our joys and hopes and our griefs and anxieties reflected in the church and embraced by it.’ So far, that hasn't happened around climate change.”
I detect a similar feeling of frustration and dissatisfaction in Canada and not just among the young.
“Dan DiLeo, a theologian … said it was important for Catholics to recognize not just a moral responsibility to respond to climate change, but that the church has ‘an extraordinary opportunity to take action’ to reduce heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions and expand ecological awareness through its vast structure and network of parishes, schools, health care centers and more.
‘I think the most significant thing that young Catholics can do, frankly, is to advocate that the bishop commits the diocese to net-zero emissions,’ he said.”
I would add that Pope Francis wrote in Laudato si’: “Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded.” (Laudato Si’, 13).
I will ask my parish’s brand new social ecological committee which grew out of D&P/Caritas Canada’s Share Lent 2022 campaign to consider that this advocacy become one of our projects.
Here is a link to the Caritas Canada Laudato Si’ Week May 23, 2020 webinar to celebrate the 5th anniversary of Laudato Si', Pope Francis' encyclical. It was organized in collaboration with the Canadian Religious Conference and GCCM – Canada (now the Mouvement Laudato Si’ Movement Canada).
6. ‘HOPE IS A MORAL IMPERATIVE’
A Review of Maude Barlow's new book
Peace & joy, Andrew Conradi, ofs. JPIC & Mouvement Laudato Si’ Movement Animator