by Andrew Conradi, ofs; JPIC & Laudato si' Animator
who acknowledges and thanks 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 in the colonialism inherent in the Indian Act and Residential Schools including racism and cultural genocide.
I commit to work for truth, healing and reconciliation
ADVENT IS A TIME OF HOPE
The Journey series started on the Solemnity of Christ the King and will continue through each of the four Sundays of Advent. Every week, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops [CCCB] will be releasing a reflection on the Gospel Reading for that Sunday. Each reflection is based one of the five essential stages of reconciliation: examen, confession, repentance, making amends, and reconciliation [between individuals and God and between settlers and First Nations, Inuit & Métis].
The reflections, given by [one of my favourite bishops] the Most Reverend Donald Bolen, Archbishop of Regina, will be available both as videos and in text form on the CCCB website. [At time of writing] So far, the first four have been released: Early Missionaries and the Encounter of Worldviews; The Spirit of the Treaties; and Residential Schools. [I highly recommend this series. I read the first four and was moved. Please listen to or read them!]
The CCCB hopes that Journey through Advent 2021 will inform Catholics and encourage discussion and prayerful accompaniment in preparation for the Indigenous Delegation, which will be travelling to Rome to meet with Pope Francis from December 17 to 20, 2021. The CCCB also hopes these reflections will assist the faithful in preparing for Pope Francis’ apostolic journey to Canada.
HOPE: An example: Julian of Norwich
“He said not 'Thou shalt not be tempested, thou shalt not be travailed,
thou shalt not be dis-eased'; but he said, 'Thou shalt not be overcome.”
― Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love
“And all shall be well. And all shall be well. And all manner of things shall be exceeding well.”
“As truly as God is our Father, so truly is God our Mother.”
(If you are wondering about the cat, it was her faithful companion in her cell
and kept mice & rats away!)
Julian (1343-1417?): was an English anchoress, a type of hermit and form of consecrated life. She wrote the best-known surviving book in the English language written by a mystic, Revelations of Divine Love, which is also the earliest surviving book in English known to be written by a woman. She lived during the Black Death, which killed up to half of Norwich’s population, and then the Peasants’ Revolt.
HOPE: Another example:
Invented by a Syrian refugee engineering doctoral student in Wales
In partnership with packaging manufacturers Klöckner Pentaplast, the design is already being used by leading UK food suppliers and retailers, including Sainsbury's and Asda. Mr Alaizoki's meat tray is 100% recyclable and allows consumers to look at meat from all angles through clear plastic. Could we ask our supermarkets and stores to follow suit?
The technology has only been patented for use in food packaging, but Mr Alaizoki said it could have many more uses. "Physics is physics, it doesn't matter if it's food packaging or any other product," he said. "This has the potential to be used in nappies and sanitary products, which also currently go straight into landfill, and take thousands of years to break down with the current gel technology."
TRUTH, GOODNESS & BEAUTY
Truth: What are we coming to? Overkill!
We say: Let her tell her true story!
St Joseph leading the Holy Family into Egypt
to escape Herod the Great’s Massacre of the Innocents
to kill the new born King of the Jews
Beauty: Dancing Twigs
To learn more go to Earthbeat or click on the link above
The local Franciscans supported them in Glasgow as did the friars of the Blessed John Duns Scotus Community headed by Br. George Smulski, OFM (guardian).
We, as Franciscans who actively participated in CP26, dreaming, hoping, and calling that COP26 will involve faith groups in climate negotiations and encourage our church leaders to walk the talk and promote ecological lifestyles that have environmental impacts, such as divestment from fossil fuels; and to create programs that can equip and assist people psychologically, physically, and materially to meet the current climate urgency. … the delegation took part in various activities at COP26. … participated in two major solidarity protests as Global days of action with Young People and faith-based organizations such as Laudato Si Movement, Living Laudato Si, and all other sectors calling for Climate Justice.
CATHOLIC BISHOPS MARCH IN CLIMATE MARCH
One of them, Bishop Hayes, the Irish coordinating bishop for 'Laudato Si', said in a podcast describing the march, his first march: “I was very tired and very worn out but the people around me, they kept me going. And in a way it was a metaphor for the whole enterprise of trying to restore our environment and God’s creation. That all of us have a contribution to make, no matter how small our contribution, be it using less power, planting a tree, stop using plastics, whatever. All of us have and can contribute to restoring God’s creation to what it was.” Click here to Listen to the podcast
The March for many Catholics started with a Mass at 9am at St Aloysius to conclude the 24-Hour Climate Vigil for COP26. It was celebrated by Bishop William Nolan of Galloway, the environmental lead in Scotland, with the homily given by Bishop John Arnold of Salford, the lead in England and Wales. Irish Bishop Martin Hayes of Kilmore and the Irish coordinating bishop for 'Laudato Si', was also there … .
campaigners at the end of Mass prior to the march
Bishop Arnold said he was optimistic about what COP26 could achieve and was impressed that young people and faith campaigners, "all have a sense of urgency of caring for Mother Earth - our common home." He told the congregation never to underestimate, "that by your personal example you can make a difference." Groups began setting out towards Kelvingrove Park to join the 'Faith Bloc' of the Climate March. “We sang 'Here I am Lord' as we entered the park and walked to the gathering area where other groups included … the Laudato Si Movement with a large inflatable globe.” The words of Pope Francis appeared everywhere - 'Hear the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor'.
Members of the Catholic Church along with hundreds of people from other denominations and faiths have continued lobbying and praying for a positive outcome at COP26, the UN climate summit in Glasgow, as it drew to a close.
Much Catholic activity centred around St Aloysius Jesuit parish, which hosted a COP26 delegates’ Mass. Bishop Hugh Gilbert of Aberdeen was the main celebrant, alongside six out of the eight Scottish Catholic bishops, the England and Wales and Ireland leads on the environment, Bishop John Arnold of Salford and Bishop Martin Hayes of Kilmore, the Irish coordinating bishop for 'Laudato Si' and around 20 priests.
In his homily Bishop William Nolan of Galloway, president of Scotland Justice and Peace, said: “We need to hold our heads in shame at creation being destroyed by human activity, with polluted air, plastics in our rivers and oceans, and large-scale mining without a care about biodiversity or indigenous peoples.” But these Bishops, God bless them, were not the first to march for climate. I am not aware of who was actually the first.
against the building of coal plants in Batangas, Philippines, 17 March 2016.
Excerpt from: Another world is needed. Together it is possible!
Laudato Si’ (LS) – A call to action: final in a series on the 2016 World Social Forum (WSF) held in Montreal by Andrew Conradi, ofs
Benedict XVI (2012), in a Message to the International Catholic Action Forum, clearly stated that the responsibility of the laity in the New Evangelization is one of co-responsibility with the clergy: “At this stage in history, work in the light of the Church’s social teaching to become a laboratory of “globalization of solidarity and charity”, in order to grow with the entire Church in the co-responsibility of offering a future of hope to humanity, by having the courage to make even demanding proposals.”
“Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience.” (LS, 217)
What can we do, as D&P – Caritas Canada puts it, to create a climate of change? We must continue to raise our awareness but ultimately it comes down to this: will the many voices of people calling for lasting change be stronger than the powerful interests working behind the scenes to defend the power of the few? As the Pope asked in LS : “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” (160)
WHERE DOES THIS LEAD ME?
TO THE SYNOD & LAUDATO SI’ ACTION PLATFORM
It was to begin this October, when the Vatican department responsible for the Synod, called for a “two year journey of reflection and sharing of the whole Church.” It will be marked by gatherings within dioceses and parishes and other Church communities, “that will promote and develop the practice and experience” of being the People of God journeying together and moving toward the future.
I suggest that Catholics raise, in their parish and diocesan synods, the matter of priests and Bishops setting an example of marching with Fridays for Future for climate to set Catholics, especially youth, afire with enthusiasm for responding to the cry of the earth and cry of the poor in their diocesan synod consultations!
This is not the first time I have suggested that Canadian Bishops and priests march for climate but so far it seems to have fallen on deaf ears (forgive me if some have marched but if they have please publicise it so we, and especially the youth, can be encouraged). Now that the precedents have been set, Bishops, priests and youth marching for climate could be seen to be a part of the Laudato si’ Action Platform. As previously mentioned, Bishop Arnold said never underestimate, "that by your personal example you can make a difference." Surely that example now includes bishops & priests marching!
Catholics at COP26
Well, we tried but COP26 Final Climate Pact
made some progress but really was a cop-out!
Mary Robinson (former President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights) on conclusion of COP26 wrote :
“COP26 has made some progress, but nowhere near enough to avoid climate disaster. While millions around the world are already in crisis, not enough leaders were in crisis mode. People will see this as a historically shameful dereliction of duty.” Some countries that failed in their duty to the future generations are Brasil, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Russia, India, China, Canada and the USA. Shame on them/us for lacking courage and foresight!
In spite of some progress, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was less upbeat. He issued a statement saying our fragile planet is “hanging by a thread” and we are “still knocking on the door of climate catastrophe.” A number of climate activists, whilst acknowledging some progress had been made, said the final deal was too weak. They warned that the key goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees was only just alive.
“Hearing the news of missed opportunities for solid targets to phase out not only coal, but also oil and gas, is hugely disappointing,” said Richard.
At the end of two weeks of declarations, negotiations and protests, the COP26 United Nations climate summit in Glasgow produced a set of vaguely worded commitments that would allow the globe to heat up 2.4 degrees. An effort to “consign coal to history” led by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson failed to sign on Australia, China, India and the United States, who together represent 70 per cent of the world’s coal consumption. On the last day, India, with support from the United States and China, managed to wheedle down the final communique from an aspiration to “phase out coal” to a hoped-for “phase down” of coal.
Richard and the Laudato Si’ Movement around the world are going to be urging Catholic institutions and dioceses to sign onto the Laudato Si’ Action Platform — a Vatican-sponsored effort to get everything from parishes to Catholic hospitals to line up their investments, buildings, employment practices and purchasing policies with the values and objectives of Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical. In December, Laudato Si’ Movement - Canada will launch the Catholic Eco-Investment Accelerator Toolkit to help Catholic individuals and institutions divest from fossil fuels.
University of Toronto School of the Environment professor Simon Appolloni is not impressed. “I would expect Christians to be enraged,” he said. “COP26 means that we are now moving even more precipitously toward more frequent, more severe, and longer lasting, dangerous weather events.” [Atmospheric river and BC floods; ring a bell? I am affected indirectly living in southern Vancouver Island. Places and people I know have been severely affected].
What can we do?
Official launch of Laudato Si' Action Platform offers
Catholics concrete steps toward sustainable lifestyles
Laudato si' Action Platform
Have you registered?
More than 4,200 entities have already pre-registered Worldwide, 159 dioceses — 17 of them in the U.S. — registered before the enrollment period opened. Cardinal Blase Cupich described the platform as a means to "vivify Laudato Si'." He invited Chicago-area parishes and their pastoral councils to discern creating their own Laudato Si' plans through the platform. The inclusion of the California Catholic bishops is notable after a study indicated that the vast majority of the U.S. episcopacy have not responded to or promoted Laudato Si' in the six years since its release.
I do not know which Canadian dioceses have registered and have recently asked the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops for this info with no response to date. There is nothing I could find on the Victoria Diocesan website or the CCCB website about the Laudato Si’ Action Platform which I find frustrating.
But I do know, from Tashia Toupin, Social Justice Coordinator, Archdiocese of Regina, that an interactive webinar is planned for January 2022 (more info to come). We will be asked to join a Canadian Launch of the Laudato Si` Action Platform, which will be hosted by Norman Lévesque. Norman is the Diocesan Officer for Creation Care Ministry for the diocese of Saint-Jean-Longueuil; Instructor at the Creation Care School; Founder of the Green Churches Network; and Author of "Greening Your Church", or the e-book version. Norman is the Canadian rep for the Laudato Si` Action Platform (LSAP) working group out of Rome. He will be leading Catholics from across Canada to learn more about how your community can engage in the works of Laudato Si'. There will be some time for discussion and sharing.
Hopefully I will be able to include the link to the Canadian launch in the January 2022 the Common Good to be published 12 January 2022. The Archdiocese of Regina has a very useful social justice/ care of creation website including a 6 part video presentation on Laudato Si’.
Endorsing the “Laudato Sì' Action Platform,” an online hub that collects, directs, and coordinates global and local initiatives inspired by the encyclical on care for creation, the Pope officially declared registration of the Laudato Si’ Action Platform open and encouraged people to sign-up. Father Joshtrom Kureethadam, the coordinator of the Ecology and Creation sector of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, said the Pope’s endorsement of the initiative is enormously invigorating.
The Platform is open to everyone, we are all invited to become ecological citizens of this common home. We thought of seven sectors, we were inspired, as a Dicastery, [i.e. a Vatican Department] to choose this number – seven - because it is a biblical number that represents wholeness...
Thanks to our partners, especially the “Laudato Sì' Movement,” we were able to create a website in nine languages. In the meantime, we have been collaborating with working groups to make these seven goals concrete. People could pre-register right away. We already have thousands of subscribers and it will be possible to register until 22 April 2022, Earth Day. Our hope is to double inscriptions every year. Time is short, our most vulnerable brothers and sisters cannot wait any longer but the thing that gives us hope is that we can act and act together, responding to Pope Francis' invitation to join the Laudato si' Platform. Pope Francis says: "We must all take responsibility; everyone can make their contribution."
Pope Francis addresses the Secular Franciscan Order in Rome for their General Chapter, expressing his hope that they might fight for justice, work for an integral ecology, collaborate in missionary projects, and become artisans of peace and witnesses of the Beatitudes.
Cardinal Michael Czerny, SJ : “Faith without the struggle for justice risks abstraction from reality, insignificance, limitation to mere cult and ritual,” he said and warned against an inward looking, obsessive parsing of old formulas that do not address the world in which people live their lives.
He told the theology faculty and students at Toronto’s Regis College they must take up the neglected renewal of theology, called for by the Second Vatican Council, St. Pope Paul VI and St. Pope John Paul II [incorporating a more robust face of Catholic theology].
Peace & joy: Happy Christmas & New Year to all!
Right: Andre Prevost’s icon: Coast Salish Madonna & Christ Child,
St. Thomas Aquinas Regional High School Chapel, North Vancouver, BC