Laudato Si' Action Platform enrolment launch

We must not give up hope, together we can bring about change. Photo:pexels.comWe must not give up hope, together we can bring about change. Photo: pexels.com

The Laudato Si’ Action Platform is the next phase of the Church’s commitment to integrating Pope Francis’ vision for an integrated ecology as outlined in the 2015 papal Encyclical letter Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home.  In the opening verses of Laudato Si’, the Pope states that he took the name of St Francis of Assisi as a guide and inspiration when he was elected Bishop of Rome.  The Pope says of St Francis, “he shows us just how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace” (#10). The launch of the enrolment phase of the Laudato Si’ Action Platform on the World Day of the Poor November 14th 2021, acknowledges links between ecological destruction and worsening poverty that are increasingly evident worldwide. 

In his message for the World Day of the Poor, Pope Francis states: “the face of God revealed by Jesus is that of a Father concerned for and close to the poor.  Jesus not only sides with the poor; he also shares their lot.  This is a powerful lesson for his disciples in every age.” Columban Missionaries are committed to lives of solidarity with peoples who experience poverty. Columban Missionaries strive to live values that “respect life in all its forms within the context of the integrity of creation” and to adopt “simplicity in lifestyle that puts material goods in their Christian perspective.”  (Society General Assembly 2012) 

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference are also committed to the Laudato Si’ Action Platform and invite Australian Catholics to join them. In a Media Blog on 15th November, Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, chair of the Australian Bishops Commission for Social Justice, Mission and Service, stated the enrolment launch of the Laudato Si’ Action Platform on the World Day of the Poor “sends a powerful Gospel message that the transformation of the world and of societies will be led by ordinary people. We must not give up hope, together we can bring about change.”

Pope Francis reminds us that those who experience poverty are not outside our communities.  In his World Day of the Poor message, Pope Francis reminds us that we are all called to alleviate marginalization, difficulties and loss of dignity, and to support equal social inclusion. The Pope states: “individualistic lifestyles are complicit in generating poverty, and often saddle the poor with the responsibility for their condition.” The Pope challenges selfishness and greed and urges just social and economic development. In Laudato Si’ Pope Francis also states: “in the end, a world of exacerbated consumption is at the same time a world which mistreats life in all its forms” (#230).

The Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development now invites Catholic families, parishes, schools, organizations, businesses, religious communities and hospitals to enroll in a seven-year Laudato Si’ action journey towards just and sustainable communities. The Laudato Si’ Action Platform has seven goals: the response to the cry of the earth, the response to the cry of the poor, ecological economics, adoption of simple lifestyles, ecological education, ecological spirituality, and community involvement. Enrolment information, tools, resources and network opportunities are available on-line. St Columbans Mission Society is committed to the ongoing development and implementation of the Laudato Si’ Action Platform. 

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference are also committed to the Laudato Si’ Action Platform and invite Australian Catholics to join them. In a Media Blog on 15th November, Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, chair of the Australian Bishops Commission for Social Justice, Mission and Service, stated the enrolment launch of the Laudato Si’ Action Platform on the World Day of the Poor “sends a powerful Gospel message that the transformation of the world and of societies will be led by ordinary people. We must not give up hope, together we can bring about change.” 

Catholics worldwide are invited to gain mutual support and journey together in compassionate responses to unfolding urgent needs of our times. 

Sr Caroline Vaitkunas RSM, Peace, Ecology and Justice Team member, Columban Mission Centre, Essendon.

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