Parishioners reflect on Pope's message on environment

Over one hundred parishioners from across the Archdiocese gathered to reflect on Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ .

Speaking last Saturday, Dr Sara Parvis reflected on Pope Francis’ letter on caring for our common home, emphasising “the need for prayer, the need for God, the need to connect this to part of a bigger story.”

She said responding to climate change is not optional but is a necessary action which is firmly rooted in our faith, and in the mission given to us by God to care for his creation.

At the event, organised by the Archdiocesan Commission for Caritas, Justice and Peace, Dr Parvis added that “the poor are living with the consequences of our greed now.” With this in mind, she spoke of the “blasphemy of destroying the environment and destroying the world” by failing to respond to God’s call to action.

Pope Francis emphasised the need for action in response to the current climate emergency. Rev David Coleman, Environmental Chaplain for Eco-Congregations Scotland, addressed this noting that the response must be “spiritual, practical and global.”

Explaining how congregations across Scotland and further afield are inspired by Pope Francis, the example of the saints and by the message in the Gospels, he argued that “reducing our carbon footprint raises our Gospel footprint!”

Rev Coleman highlighted the ecumenical work of Eco-Congregations Scotland to engage parishes through their three-tier awards scheme. It is hoped that parishes across the Archdiocese will accept this challenge, and seek to take practical steps to address the climate crisis facing us.

Speaking following the event, Father Basil Clark, Vicar Episcopal for Caritas, Justice and Peace, said: “It's been a thoroughly thought-provoking day as we journeyed through Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ considering what changes we might make as a Church community.

“The challenge is real, and we must live up to it. Our Catholic faith teaches us to care for God’s creation, and so we must respond urgently to that call. I would like to thank Sara for leading us in today’s reflection, and David for explaining some of the amazing work being done already.

“In my own parish, we are working towards recognition as an Eco-Congregation. This has been a very worthwhile journey, exploring the ways in which we can take small steps to address climate change in our parish communities, and how we can raise awareness of this important issue among our parishioners to ensure that this important message reaches everyone.”