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Spreading good news of Laudato Si’

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Parishes and Catholic agencies have plenty of “good news” stories to share about the work they are doing to ‘Care for our Common Home’, according to the new director of Catholic Earthcare Bernard Holland.

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Visiting Adelaide in early November, Mr Holland said he was impressed by the work being undertaken in the Adelaide Archdiocese in response to Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’.

“The positive thing is that you have an ecology committee here as part of Catholic Education, which means it is embedded in a governance structure.

“I came here to paint the picture of what is happening in other dioceses and globally, but it’s really important for each diocese and each Catholic agency to make their own decisions based on their strengths, their needs, their people and their capacities.

“It’s all about capacity building and there’s strength in multiple stories. We can learn off each other and we take what we think we can use – so it’s the ripple effect.”

Catholic Earthcare is the ecological agency for the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and since last year has been incorporated with Caritas Australia.

Through its education and advocacy work, Catholic Earthcare promotes that the environment is ‘sacred and endangered’, and must be protected and sustained for present and future generations. It encourages members of the community to build ‘sustainable relationships’ with the natural world.

The former Catholic schools principal said one of his first projects as the new Earthcare director would be to produce a “coffee table book” to spread the word about the good work being done throughout Australia to look after the ecology and climate.

“I have been told on many occasions that now is the right time to push Laudato Si’ more – people are looking for good news stories and there are plenty out there in isolated pockets of every Catholic agency.

“I want to collect those stories and bring them together for a coffee table book production – personalised on the cover for each diocese.

“The next step after that will be to bring all the different Catholic sectors (health, education, the Church) together for a conversation on Laudato Si’ in action.”

Mr Holland said he would be also encouraging each diocese to address the implementation of Laudato Si as if it was a compliance issue and therefore have a person responsible within every church agency to support measureable outcomes.

“We always need someone to conduct the orchestra,” he quipped.

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