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Preparing for the 2023 Season of Creation – “Let Justice and Peace Flow” August 30th, 2023
By Maurice Lange, current Justice & Peace Director at Presentation Sisters & former Executive Director of the Oblates Lebh Shomea House of Prayer
“Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the ﬁrm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life.” (Laudato Si #207)
READ: 1st first part of Pope Francis’ letter for the 2023 Season of Creation (below)
REFLECTION: What is God’s desire? Pope Francis begins this Season of Creation by getting immediately to the heart of the matter: God wants justice to reign. Equating the kingdom of God to right relationship with God, humanity and nature, Francis makes clear that such righteousness, authentic justice and peace, is like a nourishing stream that does not fail. As we prepare to begin this annual Season, let us reflect on the ways in which we contribute to the stream and “let justice and peace flow”. And, for a thorough ecological examen: how do some of our perceptions inhibit such a flow? From where did we imbibe these “dam-Ing” perceptions? Let us live at the heart of the matter this Season of Creation and beyond.
ACTION: The Season of Creation begins September 1 and continues through October 4. Procure and keep a Season of Creation journal. You may wish to play with the water imagery of this year’s theme. Like a stream that flows with new water, may this Season be one of new commitment for you. “We thank you for being with us each day. Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace.” (LS closing prayer #246)
Let Us Walk Together Listening to the Call to Care for the Common Home
September 1st is the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. It is an initiative of Pope Francis who has also written the Encyclical Laudato Si’ (LS) on care for the common home. The 37th General Chapter told us that care for the Earth “is of special concern to us in our missionary work.
We have become aware of our insufficient efforts to care for the environment. We are challenged, therefore, to commit ourselves to the fullest extent possible to make ecological conversion a priority as a fundamental part of our lives and as an integral part of our evangelization”. (Pilgrims of Hope in Communion PEC n. 11,1).
I am aware that some, perhaps even many, question whether care for the common home is really important to us. There is even a certain resistance, if not opposition, to accept some of the proposals of Pope Francis in his Encyclical Laudato Si.
I would not like to enter here into scientific, political or sociological considerations that certainly need to be debated. My intention is to invite everyone to read, pray and seek ways to put into practice what the Holy Spirit can inspire in us as we confront the texts of Laudato Si and the Document of our 37th General Chapter (PEC).
I have asked our General Service for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation to prepare tools to help us do that prayerful reading in community to “study Laudato Si‘ affirming its value and urgency in all our communities. Sustain and promote our programs and activities in this area, linking with other groups through the Laudato Si’ Church Platform for Action.
Be aware of the simple things we can do in our communities, e.g., recycling.” (PEC 15.1) In this letter I would like to emphasize three dimensions in which we can grow as a charismatic family responding to the call of ecological conversion.
New Resource! Practical Ways We Can Help Pollinators August 14th, 2023
Actions to Support Local Pollinator Biodiversity
At the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) in 2022, countries agreed to return 30% of land and 30% of the oceans to nature. Seizing this momentum, in June 2023, Irish Bishops called for conservation of nearly a third of church property to become havens for pollinators and biodiversity.
The bishops’ initiative responds to:
- Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical “Laudato Si, on Care for Our Common Home,”
- the impending loss of biodiversity
- and agreements made at COP15 in December 2022.
Integrity of Creation as an integral part of evangelization was re-affirmed at the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate’s 37th General Chapter in September 2022.
The OMI Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation has adapted some ideas from the Irish Bishops’ resource Faith Communities Actions to Help Pollinators and complied them as possible actions for people to take.
Celebrating the World’s Indigenous Peoples on this Day August 9th, 2023
Today is International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples and we join Forest Peoples Programme in showcasing Indigenous contributions to biodiversity conservation through the Transformative Pathways website.
- The Transformative Pathways website, launched on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, is a platform to evidence Indigenous Peoples’ and Local Communities’ work safeguarding biodiversity across the globe.
- The Transformative Pathways website, in close collaboration with Local Biodiversity Outlooks, is also a repository of information to ensure Indigenous voices are heard in global biodiversity policy.
Westpath Sustainable Investment Report August 4th, 2023
“We welcome the publication of the 2021-2022 Sustainable Investment report from Westpath Benefits and Investments where they discuss their particular achievements to promote sustainable investments and a number of other issues wherein they collaborate with us and other ICCR members on a regular basis.”