An end and a beginning

The fifth anniversary of Laudato Si' was celebrated at the monastery on May 24, the conclusion of a week-long celebration around the world of Pope Francis’ landmark encyclical translated “On the Care of Our Common Home.” When Pope Francis announced the week he said: “In these times of the pandemic, in which we are more aware of the importance of care for our common home, I hope that all the common reflection and commitment may help to create and strengthen constructive attitudes for the care of creation.”

The community gathered for a service that included prayer, singing and action. It was prepared by Benedictines for Peace (BFP) under the guidance of Sister Anne McCarthy (BFP Coordinator) and Postulant Colleen Leathley. Special readings on the present climate crisis highlighted the challenge to protect our common home. Voices were united as one in singing, “Heal our common home!” in response to a video message from Young Catholics in Australia and the Catholic Youth Network for Sustainability in Africa. They directed their statements, about how climate change is already impacting their communities and specifying the urgent need for climate action, to the United States Catholic Community. After reflection and small group discussion each sister reviewed possible climate actions identified by the Catholic Climate Covenant. All then had an opportunity to individually choose the actions they would be willing to explore and implement. The anniversary prayer closed the session.

“Today ends a special week marking the anniversary of Laudato Si',” explained Sister Anne McCarthy, “and it begins a year-long focus on climate crisis by the global church spearheaded by the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. The special Laudato Si' Anniversary Year runs from May 24, 2020 to May 24, 2021.”