Scottish Bishops' pastoral letter: caring for creation

Scotland’s Bishops have issued a national pastoral letter for Pentecost Sunday (23 May 2021) on the theme of caring for creation.

It coincides with Laudato Si' week (16-25 May), which marks the sixth anniversary of Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter on the environment.

The letter draws attention to the Christian message, that “we are all part of one human family and that we share a common home...our earth’s resources must be shared and used for the benefit of all”.

It follows the announcement of a Care of Creation Office set up in preparation for the COP26 conference that takes place in Glasgow in November. The Office’s aim will be to give practical advice and guidance, helping dioceses and parishes assess their carbon footprint and discern how to work towards carbon neutrality.

 

 

Laudato Si' week activity

Laudato Si’ Week 2021 continues today at 2pm with an inspiring Webinar featuring priests and religious from across the world. It is titled Sowing Hope for the Planet: Creation Care Prayer Network.

In our Archdiocese, Anne Havard wrote this article on behalf of the Caritas, Justice & Peace Commission's working group on Laudato Si', ahead of Pentecost.

Meanwhile, an ecoCircle formed last year in Edinburgh, inspired by Laudato Si', the encyclical in which Pope Francis calls us to "care for our common home". Join its prayer in the below video.

 

A Great Toy Giveaway took place at St Francis Xavier's Parish in Falkirk last year thanks to the generosity of parishioners and the local community.

Volunteer Kathy Onoi explained how it fitted in with the Laudato Si' theme. She said: "We identified a need in the parish due to lost jobs and furloughing that left the poorest with little money to afford Christmas for their children.

"All the gifts were donated. There were some new things, but a lot of preloved toys in great condition that would have otherwise been thrown away.

"We contacted the local social work department and other organisations to identify children in need and then opened up the hall to anyone in the area to come and take what they needed. There was very little left and that was taken by a local charity shop."

Meanwhile, Fr Gerry Hand held a Laudato Si' service at Holy Cross Parish in Edinburgh on Thursday night. Watch the service below or on YouTube

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Laudato Si' week: a parish takes swift action!

We asked parishes across the Archdiocese to show us what they've been up to as we prepare to celebrate Laudato Si' week, which begins on Sunday 16 May.

The parish community at Ss Ninian & Triduana in Restalrig, Edinburgh, sent us the below video, highlighting their projects, including creating new homes for insects and swifts. Great work!

Laudato Si’ Week 2021, 16-25 May, is the climax of the Special Laudato Si’ Anniversary Year, and a celebration of the great progress the whole Church has made on its journey to ecological conversion. Find out more at laudatosiweek.org/

Laudato Si' week: Wildflowers sown at Holy Cross

In the lead up to Laudato Si Week, the parish of Holy Cross has been seeding small areas of wildflower meadow next to it's parish in the north west of Edinburgh.

They said: "It is a gesture towards addressing the biodiversity and climate change crisis lamented in Laudato Si. In a tiny but symbolic way, this reverses some of the loss of 97-99% of our UK meadows since the 1930s.

"To sow the meadow, donated wildflower seeds were split between over two hundred small packets and given out to parishioners...(they) were invited to sow the wildflower seeds and say a prayer, similar to lighting a candle in church.

"Meadow allows many diverse plants to grow and provides improved habitat for the small wildlife of the parish, including bees, butterflies, moths, frogs and birds.  We are also lucky enough to have a family of badgers (see below image), a fox and at least one very crazy squirrel to enjoy the habitat.

"Looking after the meadow areas should be no more work than the previous grass and, all part of ‘caring for our common home’, where we respect and care for nature, as well as ourselves.

Read more at: https://laudatosi.hcrossmm.org.uk/

Bishops to set up 'care of creation office' ahead of COP26

Scotland’s Catholic Bishops have announced their intention to set up a 'Care of Creation Office' ahead of the COP26 meeting in Glasgow later this year.

The announcement coincides with a national pastoral letter being distributed to all parishes for Pentecost Sunday (23 May 2021) on the theme of caring for creation.

It also coincides with Laudato Si' week (16-25 May), which marks the sixth anniversary of Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter on the environment.

The letter draws attention to the Christian message, that “we are all part of one human family and that we share a common home...our earth’s resources must be shared and used for the benefit of all”.

Bishop William Nolan, the Bishop of Galloway and President of the National Justice & Peace Commission said: "On Pentecost Sunday (23 May 2021) we mark the 5th anniversary of Laudato Si, Pope Francis’ encyclical letter on care for our common home. It reminds all Catholics of their responsibilities towards one another and the world we live.

"Inspired by the Pope’s letter and in preparation for the COP26 conference taking place in Glasgow in November, the Bishops’ Conference has decided to set-up a Care of Creation Office this year.”

The Office’s aim will be to give practical advice and guidance, helping dioceses and parishes assess their carbon footprint and discern how to work towards carbon neutrality. It will be headed by Fr Gerard Maguiness, General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference.

Bishop Nolan added: "God has honoured us by giving humanity the task of being a co-operator in the work of creation we hope our lives enhance and build-up that creation and pray that the meeting of world leaders in Glasgow later this year bear fruit for our planet.”

 

Holy Mass to launch Season of Creation

Archbishop Cushley will be the principal celebrant at the annual Justice and Peace Mass for the Archdiocese, which takes place on the World Day of Prayer for Creation.

It launches the Season of Creation, which runs from 01 September to 04 October. The theme this year is 'Jubilee for the Earth'. It also happens in this fifth anniversary year of Laudato Si - Pope Francis' important encyclical on caring for the poor and the planet. On the day we further celebrate the Archdiocesan Feast Day of St Giles.

Archbishop Cushley said: "The Holy Father asks us to unite with all Christians in prayer for the Season of Creation, so it's fitting our Archdiocese celebrates its annual Justice & Peace Mass on the World Day of Prayer for Creation. The Judeo-Christian sense of creation is beautiful and profound and I echo the Holy Father's call during the Season of Creation for increased prayer and effort on behalf of our common home.”

At the Mass, celebrated at St Columba's Church in Upper Gray Street, Edinburgh, Archbishop Cushley will be joined by Fr Basil Clark, Fr Kevin Douglas, Fr Tony Lappin and Deacon John Smith.

A letter about this year's season of creation from the Vatican's Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, states: "Pope Francis’ message, which calls us to attend to the 'immense hardship for the most vulnerable among us,' is particularly relevant in the light of the coronavirus pandemic.

"As the world experiences deep uncertainty and suffering in the midst of a global emergency, we are called to recognise that a truly healthy recovery means seeing that 'everything is connected' and repairing the bonds we have broken. We realise that we need to grow more and more in solidarity and take care of one another in fraternity."

Register for the Mass on Eventbrite by clicking here. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, there are 50 places available. The Justice and Peace Group of St Columba’s invite you to the Church Hall for refreshments after Mass.

Season of Creation Resources

Visit seasonofcreation.org for more details. Read Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si' here.

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.”