“Never before was a Papal letter more enthusiastically received by other Christian Churches, other religions, politicians, scientists, believers and non-believers alike than Pope Francis’ letter on creation, ‘Laudato si’ two years ago. Though it is a challenging read at 189 pages it is clearly written and has a message that we should all try to absorb.” – Fr John Corcoran, Parish Priest.
A series of meetings was held in 2016-2017 to introduce us to the encyclical, to discuss it and consider ways of putting its philosophy into practice. Following this, we have started a new parish group whose objectives are to commit the parish, in its three church communities, to establish permanent activities and practices that will enable us to actively live the ideas engendered by Pope Francis, so that we may start to repair the damage done to our Common Home and offer a better future for our children and grandchildren.
We will be meeting regularly to discuss initiatives and progress. In the meantime, these pages will be used to pass on relevant news, advice, hints and tips, etc. We hope our website will become a valuable resource for all in the parish and elsewhere who wish to contribute to the success of the venture and to keep abreast of what we are doing. Our watchword is a phrase frequently repeated by Pope Francis in Laudato Si’ – “everything is connected”!
A Prayer for Our Earth
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace.
Click Here to download a PDF copy of Laudato Si’
May 2, 2018: LAUDATO SI’ TALK: THE PENDLE HILL LANDSCAPE PARTNERSHIP
In the second of our Laudato Si talks, Jayne Ashe of the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty will talk about what the partnership is doing and give us some insights into how it can become part of our Laudato Si’ Live Simply Award. 7.30 pm, Wednesday 4th April, in the Old School Rooms
January 10 2018: Meeting of Laudato Si Group
John Noonan opened with a prayer
Anthony Brown said a few words about the Live Simply Award and introduced the speakers.
Mark Rotherham introduced us to Laudato Si’ and the message of Pope Francis reminding us of the significance of the name our current Pope has taken. Man’s existence on Earth continues the evolution of the universe and living matter, from the Big Bang to the emergence of consciousness and compassion. Yet within the short span of humanity , through our actions, we have upset the fine balance that has kept our planet on its course so that now we threaten not only the whole environment but ourselves as well. On land the food chain is under tension as the small creatures die and the bigger ones have less to eat, and in the oceans, plastic waste is forming islands of death for the creatures of the sea. We must remember that we own nothing in the world, we are but stewards of what we possess and we are stewards of the earth: “..a new model of stewardship away from dominion towards a model of kinship with the Franciscan language of the family” (Laudato Si’). The compassion that Pope Francis speaks of in everything he writes and says is what must drive us to protect the earth, to halt its destruction, to care for all life within it, and to remember that it is the poor who suffer first and most. It is our duty individually and collectively to do all in our power to care for our environment and everything in it.
Building on Mark’s introduction, Joe Howson introduced his presentation with a potted history of Lee House, a Mass Centre during penal times, and how Lee House became a centre for spirituality and education, where people young and old come to reflect and learn. Joe’s emphasis at Lee House is empathy – empathy for the poor and the marginalised and empathy for the environment. Over the years Lee House has been venue for school children coming for experiential days, learning what it feels like to be a refugee or homeless person. Lee House has a mobile refugee exhibition which goes to schools where pupils pass from one room to another, through simulated environments and audio testimonies. There is also a mobile trafficking exhibition which uses the same structure but with different pictures and audios. But mostly school children come to Lee House for experience and role play followed by discussion and learning. For example there are offerings where pupils play the role of loggers or others moving in or exploiting land occupied by indigenous peoples. Their counterparts play the role of the indigenous people themselves. Having experienced one side or the other the case is taken to a simulated court or the United Nations where each side argues its case. We need to ‘contextualise’ so our understanding of the world is rooted in reality not theory; helping young people to experience the awe and wonder of nature. Lee House and its land and outbuildings and structures, developed by Joe and volunteers, is an oasis of environmental care and formative experience.
Mark and Joe had provided for the context for Joseph Cooper from St Wilfred’s Parish, Preston, to present the details of the CAFOD Live Simply Award. He gave us some details of what his own parish was doing to achieve the award. There are three prongs to the award: live simply; live sustainably with creation; and live in solidarity with the poor. Under each of these three headings you have a main action which involves either a significant change or includes a lot of people. You also have two smaller actions. The St Wilfred’s group has drawn up their plan which has been submitted and accepted and will be reviewed at the end of the period by a CAFOD assessor who will expect achievement to be evidenced by such things as paper records and invoices, or visual change. It was clear from what Joseph said that all that was needed was imagination and a modicum of building on what was already being done. The St Wilfred’s Live Simply Group comprises a group of ten people which is but a small proportion of the parish and Joseph raised the interesting concept of ladders of engagement which aim to deepen commitment gradually from a low base thus engaging more people and achieving more ambitious goals. Community activities or spiritual events can have an environmental or charitable dimension for example Masses or prayers offered for a particular intention or even injecting a few environmental questions into an Advent quiz. St Wilfred’s are having a serious of awareness raising events including subjects like human trafficking which is a less obvious candidate for a talk, yet referred to in Laudato Si’. Stimulated by Joseph and the realisation we could include activities which are already taking place, or which aimed to reach new people, we were encouraged to feel that we are already on the journey.
Following the presentations, Mark Wiggin invited those present to generate ideas which were then presented to the group:
- Have a launch and a programme of activities published so the whole parish can get involved
- Book the Old School Rooms every month on a Wednesday to develop and promote our ideas
- A parish audit of what we are already doing
- Improve communications internally so that everybody can be aware of what we are doing and how they can contribute
- Joe’s Invitation to continue our journey at Lee House
- Spiritual events and a liturgy to reflect what we can do to live more simply e.g. outdoor Masses and a Stations of the Cross walk over Pendle Hill
- Community activities – environmentally focused outings, presentations with invited speakers
- Knitting/craft days
- Grow vegetables for the foodbank
- Plant seeds and trees and place Bob Boxes
- Share our facilities with refugees
- Work with other churches and faiths in Clitheroe
- There will be a Spring Happening of fun for all the family in the Parish on May 20th, at St Michael and St John’s Secret Garden and Assembly Hall, to include our Parish, friends, local communities, playgroups, primary and high schools. There will b stalls, crafts, demonstrations, refreshments and lots more.
- There will be a Justice and Peace presence at the Eucharistic Congress in Liverpool in September 2018. Steve Atherton is delighted to invite our northern environment group to get involved in the fringe event called ‘On the Altar of the World’ on Saturday 8th from 10.00 – 18.00 at St Philip Neri, the Catholic chaplaincy to the university. This is a large venue in the student quarter, very near to the cathedral (near the Philharmonic for those who know Liverpool.) The building can accommodate large numbers as well as smaller, more intimate groups. It has a large open space with versatile seating arrangements and easy access to comfortable rooms and a kitchen. The Northern Diocese Environmental group representing their Diocese J+P organisations will host an environmental event there with the themes yet to be agreed.
Mark Wiggin concluded the evening by applauding three excellent presentations from three very knowledgeable people, all of whom are committed to the gospel of social justice and protection of the environment. Their knowledge and passion came through with some wonderful examples of how we can understand and respond to Laudato Si. We heard about the importance of seeing ourselves as part of creation, a perception that brings with it the need to recognise the emphasis on stewardship rather than dominion. The crisis of global warming and climate change is happening now and we are all called to act now. We need to educate young people to see the world and nature as something precious that needs and deserves to be protected and held in awe and wonder. Finally, we gathered some great examples of how a parish can do practical things to live simply, sustainably and with the poor.
Anthony Brown concluded with the Laudato Si’ prayer at the top of the page:
30 November 2017: Meeting of Laudato Si’ Group
See the Notes of Laudato Si meeting November 30 2017
2 November 2017: First meeting of the Laudato Si’ Group
Mark Wiggin was elected Chairman and Anthony Brown, Secretary. The meeting agreed to explore the CAFOD Live Simply Award as the means of pursuing Laudato Si’ our parish.