Laudato Si’ Week - Seeds of Hope

Seeds of Hope

Laudato Si’ Week each year marks the anniversary of Pope Francis’ inspiring vision for a faith-based response to the cries of Earth and people. This year is the ninth anniversary of the Encyclical letter Laudato SI’ On Care for our Common Home. Laudato Si Week 2024 is celebrated from the 19th - 26th May.

Laudato Si Week 2024 reflects on Seeds of Hope that are sewn in faith and love by individuals and communities who act as agents of change for a world in need. As part of a movement of hopeful collaboration, St Columbans Mission Society has launched the 2024 Season of Creation school competition in which Primary and Secondary school students in Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand and Fiji are invited to share signs of hope and stories of new life arising from faith-inspired actions that benefit the whole community of life. Competition details are in this e-bulletin. 

At the heart of the Columban mission is sharing Gospel joy. Columban missionaries strive to live lives with joy and trust in the Lord and to be signs and instruments of God’s communion in a world of conflict and suffering. The world's poorest and the wounded earth are priorities. In his day, Jesus embraced people experiencing sickness, poverty and exclusion, and challenged structures that led to misery. In journeys of faith, we are invited to do the same.  

Today the whole balance of creation is increasingly threatened, habitats and species are rapidly being destroyed and people are displaced due to multiplying hardships. Inspired by the Holy Spirit there is much in our tradition to guide as we respond to the urgent call to care for God’s creation. Many passages in our Scriptures remind us that the Earth and all Creation belong to God and that humans have a role in taking care of it (Gen 1: 1-31, 1 Cor 10:26). St. Paul reminds that God’s creation reveals God’s eternal power and goodness (Rom 1:20). The season of Easter too is a celebration of the joy of new possibilities and life from death and destruction that could never have been imagined.   

Students who participated in the 2022 Columban Season of Creation school competition spoke of how faith sheds light on the marvels of God’s creation bringing forth a sense of deep appreciation and reverence. Taking notice of the signs of the times and listening with the ear of the heart are necessary steps towards meaningful outcomes for creation care, said Jasmine from Year 11 in Xavier College, Ba Fiji.

Rather than being swept away by the seemingly impossible, prayerful reflective practice sheds light on local possibilities whilst trusting that in turn, everything is joined up and small evidence-based contributions make a difference. Pope Francis says, “The world, created according to the divine model, is a web of relationships. Creatures tend towards God, and in turn, it is proper to every living being to tend towards other things so that throughout the universe we can find any number of constant and secretly interwoven relationships (Laudato Si’, 240).”

In a recorded conversation with educator Daniel Christian Wahl, peace advocate Satish Kumar spoke beautifully of virtues of humility and gratitude to guide the everyday. Focusing on living simply, developing skills for making, growing and mending, serving others with love and kindness, not being wasteful, and cultivating contentment and happiness day after day he said, are ways to help bring forth change.1 Better to sew seeds than worry about results or live out of fear about the state of the world and what is beyond us.

A famous quote from Mother Teresa also comes to mind, “Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”

Sr Caroline Vaitkunas RSM

Peace, Ecology and Justice Office
Columban Mission Centre, Essendon

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