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Laudato SI 2

Laudato SI“LAUDATO SI', mi' Signore” – “Glory to Thee, my Lord.” These words open Pope Francis' encyclical on ecology and the care of God's creation. They are taken from the beautiful canticle of St. Francis of Assisi (in the English translation known as The Canticle of the Sun) and remind us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us.

The Encyclical Laudato Si’ was published on June 18th, 2015. To mark the fifth anniversary of this event, Pope Francis invites all Catholics and people of goodwill from all over the world to celebrate this event together. “Laudato Si' Week” (18-24 May 2020) is intended to be an opportunity to sensitize all people to the problems that affect everyone today, regardless of their religion, skin colour, the language they speak, or place of residence. It is also an invitation to protect families and future generations by working to take care of our common home. The themes that Pope Francis emphasized in “Laudato Si” require our urgent response today. The current pandemic only highlights the fragility of both human existence and contemporary socio-economic systems, which very often lack respect for the human person and what surrounds him/her.

The concern for the common home that is our planet is an integral part of our missionary work. Many SMA missionaries have been, and still are, actively involved in concrete activities aimed at raising the ecological sensitivity of local communities in Africa and, consequently, protecting them from overexploitation and destruction of their living and working environments. This environment gives shelter and food and is an integral part of history and culture. Which is simply home. If this house is in good condition, its inhabitants will not be forced to emigrate to ensure their survival.

The SMA General Assembly, held in May 2019, also drew attention to the problems signaled by Pope Francis in the Encyclical Laudato Si'. We were invited not only to read this document but above all to put into practice concrete solutions to the problems indicated by the Pope, both at the community and individual level. They are to be implemented by small steps, a change of habits, sensitivity to the environment around us, prudent use of water, reducing plastic and non-recyclable materials again to the necessary minimum, etc., etc.  

Very often the element that effectively undercuts the wings to engage in the field of ecology and protection of our planet, our common home, is the feeling of helplessness. What can one man or a small group do in a confrontation with big international corporations, with heavy industry, lobbying for them, and big world politics? The answer seems obvious: nothing or little. Its “obviousness” is, unfortunately, very often an excuse to do nothing.

Meanwhile, a lot depends on the attitude of an individual or a small local community! But there is a need for wide-ranging cooperation at many levels, in many areas and a lot of self-denial and goodwill.

A good example of this is the “Great Green Wall - Great Green Wall” project in Africa. (see more: https://www.greatgreenwall.org/about-great-green-wall). Its implementation illustrates the complexity and multifaceted nature of cooperation: from policymakers, through international partners to local communities, without whose cooperation effective implementation would be impossible. The impact and effects that are already visible do not only affect the ecology. They have a very broad and multifaceted range. They simply change people's lives for the better.

Pope Francis invites us to join, each in his/her own way and according to his/her abilities, in living together this special week. His aim is to strengthen the actions already taken, to encourage creativity, or simply to awaken us to action if we have not already done anything in this area.  

You can join in through the official website of the event: https://laudatosiweek.org/
Here you will also find many interesting materials and ideas that can help to deepen our awareness and stimulate our creativity.

A special moment and the climax of the “Laudato Si' Week” will be the moment of common prayer at noon local time on May 24th. Catholics from all over the world will be united in spirit because “everything is connected”.

Become a part of people who take greater care of the environment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Krzysztof Pachut, SMA

Laudato SI 1