Photo taken from a fire truck of sheep escaping the fire. Photo by Mick Pollard on Unsplash
Below is a compilation of articles and reflections by Columbans in the light of the unprecedented bushfire crisis in Australia.
Fr Peter O'Neill SSC, Columban Leader in Australia and Australia's JPIC Coordinator wishes to highlight these points:
- please remember support and solidarity for the firefighters and other Australians who have lost their lives in the bushfires, and for those hundreds of people who have lost homes, livestock, crops, properties and businesses;
- the fires have been the most catastrophic fires in recorded Australian history in light of their duration and expansiveness. Climate change is the most significant factor for these catastrophic bushfires across Australia.
- people have rallied to support all the communities who have been affected by the bushfires.
- Several scientists and news outlets have reported that a billion animals have been killed in the fires.
Fr Sean McDonagh SSC has written extensively on biodiversity. Here is one of his more recent articles, The Destruction of Biodiversity
A working group has been formed made up of JPIC team members which will coordinate a Society response to the upcoming UN Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN COP26 both later this year. It is a concrete way for Columbans to contribute to national and global processes bringing our voice and spirituality to the conversation.
Finally, we look again to Laudato Si' as a source for action and contemplation. Pope Francis writes on biodiversity,
Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence, nor convey their message to us. We have no such right. (par.33)
Please join in offering prayers for Australia - the people, the land, the creatures big and small - we turn to the Cross and humbly ask again for resurrection from the ashes of these deadly fires.
May the loss of life not be in vain, but rather a moment of deep conversion, transformation and encounter with the God of all Creation.