Inspirational talks from Father Peter on the challenges of Laudato Si’.
This month, we were very fortunate to host two talks by Father Peter about the challenges of Laudato Si’, what it really means to be a Catholic, and the question of poverty. He delivered an inspirational message at Comboni Missionary Sisters, Chiswick on Friday 14 July and at St Peter and St Paul Parish in Northfields, Ealing on Wednesday 19 July.
Several members of the local parish and community attended, and were invited to participate in a card-signing to show their support for CAFOD and this year’s Harvest Fast Day Appeal in El Salvador.
Father Peter, who had spent many years working as a missionary in Lima, Peru became the theological advisor in Latin America. His close collaborations with Gustavo Gutierrez enabled him to support developing programmes, both for social and pastoral action with the help of Peruvian bishops.
The key message of Father Peter’s talk encompassed the challenges of Laudato Si’, and what it really meant to be a Catholic both for our church, and for our world. Using the words of Pope Francis which echoed St. Peter and St. Paul, Father Peter spoke about the question of poverty, and how this burning issue forms the foundations of CAFOD, “I want a church by the poor, for the poor”.
He highlighted the shocking statistic from February by Oxfam International speaking about the distance between the rich and the poor, and the inequalities in today’s society. “Today 50% of the world’s wealth is in the hands of 8 people.” He also emphasised how people in our world are being reduced to “nobodies” or a “surplus” as a result of material poverty, and how this is directly against the Christian message. “God is a God of love […] God is life.”
As Christians, we all have the responsibility to understand poverty. As Father Peter mentioned, we should remember both relative and absolute poverty, and reach out to those in need both within and outside of our local communities, believers or non-believers. Father Peter also highlighted our job as Christians to understand the relationship between poverty and our faith, with reference to this year’s Harvest Fast Day Appeal and the overarching message from Laudato Si’ 139. Fighting climate change is our responsibility as stewards for our planet, “If we make of mess of the world, we can fix it”
Following some questions, Libby Abbott, CAFOD Campaigns Team, spoke on behalf of CAFOD about our latest ‘Power to Be’ campaign and the importance of renewable energy. Everyone was encouraged to sign cards in order to raise awareness the campaign and the effects of climate change.
We are extremely grateful for all the work and continued support Father Peter has given to CAFOD over the last 30 years. We wish him all the best in his work within the church and as the Board of REPAM, the church network for Pan-Amazon.