On Saturday 17 October, over 70 people from many parishes across the Diocese of Westminster attended an Annual Study Day organised by Westminster Justice and Peace. The day, on the theme of Laudato Si’, featured guest speakers including eco-theologian Fr Sean McDonagh, Sarah Hagger-Holt of CAFOD, and Christine Lang of Pax Christi France.
Fr Sean unpacked the message of Pope Francis’ encyclical, explaining that the link between science and religion is important, and that each creature has intrinsic value. In order to protect creation and prevent irreparable damage of a geological magnitude he said that “we have to expand our moral imagination to go to places we’ve never been before.”
Sarah Hagger-Holt, from the Campaigns Team at CAFOD, described the ways in which we can put our faith into action, most notably by becoming a livesimply parish. The award not only recognises environmental activism but also a parish’s ability to live simply, sustainably, and in solidarity with the poor. John Scott, of livesimply parish Our Lady Immaculate and St Andrew in Hitchin, said that the biggest challenge they faced to achieve the award was to curb the enthusiasm of eager parishioners!
With the UN conference on climate change fast approaching, it was insightful to hear Christine Lang speak about the activities of French Catholics in preparation for the Paris talks. French parishes have become more aware of the climate conference and some are offering hospitality to pilgrims. Even though there is much doubt as to whether governments will come to an agreement to reduce global carbon emissions, Christine stressed that “there is always hope” and that “we must believe and keep the talks in our prayers.”
What can you do?
The talks in Paris between politicians may seem far removed from our lives, but climate change is an issue that will affect us all, especially the world’s poorest. There are many ways you can get involved to show solidarity with climate victims and to make our voices heard.
- Sign our climate petition to put pressure on our government to reach an agreement in Paris.
- March with CAFOD and other members of the Climate Coalition at the People’s Climate March on Sunday 29 November.
- Get a copy of our Laudato Si’ study guide to help you and your parish to reflect and respond to the papal encyclical
For more information get in touch with CAFOD Westminster on 0208 449 6970 or firstname.lastname@example.org.