Following the publication on the 25th of May this year of Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si”, parishes across the Westminster Diocese are preparing to study this inspiring document. To enable parishes to do this CAFOD organised a recent “Laudato Si” Study Guide Workshop for Parish Representatives. Participants from all over the diocese from North, East and West London and even Hertfordshire were present. As I myself attended the workshop I take this opportunity to share with you what I learnt.
Tony Sheen, CAFOD ‘s Community Participation Co-ordinator, led this workshop and gave a good explanation as to how best the encyclical might be presented to small groups at parish level. He suggested what materials we might use and where to get them. Each group would need a copy of the entire encyclical, each member would need the “Laudato Si” Study Guide, and a DVD player and screen could be used to advantage.
The Study Guide itself invites reflection on some of the key themes of “Laudato Si”, the four examples chosen being, 1) Creation is a caress, 2) The climate is a common good, 3) Humankind is a universal family, 4) We were made for love.
These themes could be studied one by one over a period of four weeks, in weekly sessions lasting for about an hour. The meetings would begin by a reading from “Laudato Si”, a repeat of the same passage read silently by each member, then time given to quiet personal reflection before discussion and sharing of insights. There would also be a witness story from an overseas community shared at each session. The group would then be encouraged to pray and respond in whatever way it thought fit. A session also might include a film on the Church’s teaching on the environment. Copies of the “Laudato Si” Study Guide and relevant films are available directly from CAFOD online at http://www.cafod.org.uk/Pray/Encyclical
or by telephoning 030 0011 5680
We concluded with a prayer and came away from the workshop feeling grateful to CAFOD for enlightening us, and confident that we had sufficient information and guidance as to how to go about bringing “Laudato Si” to life in our parishes. What now remains for us is to put what we learnt into practice.