During this week of the 21-28 May, we celebrate the feasts of the Ascension and Pentecost. At this special time, the universal Church is invited to celebrate Laudato Si’ Week which is sponsored by the Vatican Dicastery for Integral Human Development. This is a way to celebrate Pope Francis’ encyclical letter, “Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home” and for all Catholics to unite and rejoice in the progress we have made in bringing Laudato Si’ to life and to commit ourselves to further prayer and action for our common home. This year has the inspiring theme “Hope for the Earth, Hope for Humanity.”
In the Southern Hemisphere, this celebration co-insides with the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The World Council of Churches and the Holy See’s Dicastery for the Christian Unity have prepared resources about the theme of “Do good; seek justice” (Isaiah 1:17). This material has been adapted for New Zealand by members of the National Dialogue for Christian Unity and distributed to parishes.
Can these two weeks – Laudato Si’ Week and the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity ‒ be celebrated together? Are they interconnected? Let’s look at the three “eco” words, – ecology, economy and ecumenism ‒ all come the Greek word for “household.” This interconnection surely underlies the vision of the World Council of Churches that “[t]he mission of the ecumenical movement today is about transforming the world into a place of justice and peace for all God’s creation… [in a] participatory search for alternatives that are centred on the people and the Earth” (Introduction, Economy of Life).
Likewise, in Laudato Si’ Pope Francis states: “Today, however, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” (Italics his. §49). The urgency of climate change returns us to pray for Christian Unity because for Christian believers, committed to love for God’s creation and to respect for the dignity of every human person, responding to this interconnection will be necessarily a central dimension of the life of faith. As Pope Francis ends his Closing Homily for this Week of Prayer: “All together may we journey along on the path that the Lord has placed before us, the path of unity.”
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: https://www.catholic.org.nz/resources/wopcu2023/
Laudato Si’ Week. Laudato Si’ Week 2023: Hope for the Earth. Hope for humanity. (laudatosiweek.org)
Watch “The Letter: A Message for Our Earth” video on Pope Francis the Environmental Crisis, and Frontline Leaders: https://laudatosiweek.org/
Download and pray from The Laudato Si’ Movement Prayer Book which “features moving prayers from around the globe and will help you and your loved ones experience the ecological conversion that St. Pope John Paul II first mentioned and Pope Francis echoed in Laudato Si’.: https://mail.laudatosimovement.org/landing/prayerbook
Join our local Laudato Si’ Group which has continued to meet since the 2022 Ablaze Conference. (Contact: Kathleen Rushton RSM firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Laudato Sí Movement invites all to participate in the global event on Saturday, May 27 at 19:00 (Rome) Responding to The Letter, an online dialogue with experts in economics, Church, civil society, and education, who will share practical solutions to address the climate crisis. https://laudatosiweek.org/