Laudato Si’ & Year of Mercy Workshop | 2nd July 2016

The workshop event held on Saturday 2nd July, provided the opportunity for a day of reflection, as well as stimulating discussions amongst new and old faces.

The workshop provided an opportunity to inform CAFOD volunteers of the latest insights regarding the Year of Mercy and Laudato Si’. The letter to the world provides the opportunity for intercultural relations, more so than ever before. Pope Francis encourages the community of the world to tackle climate change, ‘I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue…a conversation that includes everyone’ (Laudato Si’ #14)

CAFOD Laudato Si' and Year of Mercy Workshop

Laudato Si’ and Year of Mercy Workshop

Throughout the day the emphasis was for the reflection on how CAFOD volunteers are helping in this conversation, through the varying roles CAFOD volunteers partake in, from visiting schools on Fast Day to speaking at your parish to campaigning.

Laudato Si’ ‘Care for our common home’

It was truly interesting to see the thought that had gone into the selection of words which the Pope himself has selected in his letter to the world. Throughout the encyclical the theme of ‘Care for our common home’ is a recurring theme. The connotations surrounding care is the need to promote a ‘culture of care which permeates all of society’ (LS #231). The Pope uses care in selecting his words to send out to the world, we in return are being called upon to take care of the communities around us, in addition to the climate which we are currently neglecting.

CAFOD Volunteers Laudato Si Year of Mercy Workshop Susy Brouard Paul Whittle

CAFOD Volunteers with Susy Brouard, Paul Whittle and Sixth Formers from St Angela’s

The word choice of ‘common’ demonstrates to the entire world that climate change is a common crisis, a common conviction the world needs to make a difference, a common home which is in danger, a challenge we face with our brothers and sisters across the world which is affecting us all. This leads to the last word within the phrase ‘home’. When many people think of home, it brings a sense of familiarity and comfort. Yet Pope Francis tells us in chapter 2 of the encyclical, of the challenges the world faces if no action is taken. However for this to occur, what is deemed as progress can no longer be restricted to our economical position within the world, it must be what we can do together to make a better future and reduce the impact of climate change.

‘Put simply, it is a matter of redefining our notion of progress. A technological and economic development which does not leave in its wake a better world and an integrally high quality of life cannot be considered progress.’ (LS #194)

In addition to the insightful explanation and understanding given of Laudato Si’, speaker Susy Brouard made a great point as to the difference between

Head knowledge and Heart knowledge. That many of us are aware of the dangers we face through climate change (head knowledge) yet in our hearts many of us will do nothing to change our ways (heart knowledge). This point of emphasis was a critical part within Saturday’s event.

Year of Mercy

CAFOD Eucharist is a source of Light Laudato Si' Year of Mercy

Living Eucharistically explained by Susy Brouard at Laudato Si’ and Year of Mercy

The event on Saturday not only provided education as what CAFOD does and hope to achieve. It provided a chance for reflection. A break from the hectic lives we live, to reflect on the recent challenges our brothers and sisters are facing throughout the world in order to live the life they deserve.

The Year of Mercy encourages three changes to our way of living. The first is Living Eucharistically.  The Eucharist is the centre of Catholic theology and at the end of mass we are sent back out into the world to ‘Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord’, for many of us this part of mass is often missed. It is worth taking a moment to think about what we are being asked to do. We are being asked to ‘be stewards of all creation’ (LS 236).

The second aspect of the Year of Mercy is Living Mercifully. Mercy is at heart of everything. By asking us to live mercifully, we are being asked to stop and think. “I found this part of the day very touching, we were each handed a photo and a quote. Enabling us to reflect on: What is a refugee?” (CAFOD Media Volunteer Ellen Wright)

CAFOD Reflection what is a refugee Martin Luther King

Relfection on What is a refguee? Inspiring quote from Martin Luther King


After a discussion surrounding the varying thoughts we had whilst reflecting on the different handouts. Through your support, CAFOD is able to assist the refugees, send your thoughts of hope to the refugees through a message of hope.

The final ask of the Year of Mercy is Living Simply. You can inspire your parish to live simply through the Living Simply Award.

CAFOD Refugee Solidarity Pilgrimage Caritas Social Action Network Jesuit Refugee Service

Refugee Solidarity Pilgrimage

The Year of Mercy links well with Laudato Si’ as both motivate us to make changes for the better of the climate and our spirituality. Whilst the thought can sound daunting, we each can take inspiration from Martin Luther King – What will happened to them? What will happen to our mother earth is nothing is done?

The Laudato Si’ and Year of Mercy workshop ended with a beautiful pilgrimage, around St. George’s Cathedral, influenced by the Lampedusa Cross. Feeling inspired? Download the pilgrimage and lead one around your parish church or local area!

Find out more about CAFOD Westminster events by contacting us on: 0208 449 6970

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