Opening a window into Laudato Si’

One of the many reasons to live sustainably – to live in ways which respect the earth and allow it to be regenerated as God the Creator intended – is so that the next generation will continue to enjoy and live in harmony with the gift of creation.

This was made abundantly clear at the TWEC day on Saturday titled, “Laudato Si’ − On Care For Our Common Home: What can it mean for us?” Two of the speakers were Brendon and Claire Mannyx. Brendon is the Parish Administrator at Toronto and the couple was accompanied by their children. Brendon and Claire shared generously with the participants how they live the injunction of Pope Francis in Laudato Si’, “…the family is the heart of the culture of life…” (n213). Speaking very practically, Brendon said “We try to get the whole family to 8am Mass. Sometimes it’s messy, so we bring that mess to God.”

Claire shared two very simple ‘rules’ they encourage: “Us, rather me…our, rather than my…because ‘my’ needs should come second to the common good.” The Mannyx children are all under school age, but not, their parents believe, too young to learn about following Jesus.

The keynote speaker was Jill Finnane from the Edmund Rice Centre. Jill co-ordinates the Centre’s EcoJustice Program and is convenor of the Pacific Calling Partnership, an initiative she set up in response to calls from Pacific Islanders for support in having their voices heard amid the threats they face from climate change.

Jill said that the encyclical reminded her of the fairy tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, because she believes, “Pope Francis points out quite a few emperors who are wearing no clothes.” In fact, in visiting Assisi and seeing the patched and worn robe of Francis of Assisi, she was reminded that sometimes the church can fall into the trap of drawing too much attention to the outer reality at the expense of what Brendon called “the very stuff of the human heart”.

Manager of Mercy Services at Tighes Hill, Lawrie Hallinan, shared comprehensively his staff’s efforts in ‘going green’. From recycling and composting to encouraging fuel-efficient driving in smaller ‘greener’ cars, Mercy Services has significantly reduced energy consumption and also saved dollars.

Similarly, John Hayes of the diocese’s Social Justice Council provided loads of practical examples of how ordinary households can put into practice Laudato Si’.

Fr Greg Barker, administrator of Forster Tuncurry, and Michael Szmynec of Chisholm Region also provided challenging perspectives on the document.

Where to from here?


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Tracey Edstein Image
Tracey Edstein

Tracey Edstein is the former editor of Aurora Magazine, the official magazine of the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

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