Held on Sunday October 1, the gathering in Mercy Grove brought together many people from the local Blackwood parish, as well as members of other parishes in the Archdiocese.
In perfect conditions they joined to reflect on this year’s Season of Creation theme, ‘Let Justice and Peace Flow’.
The service featured musicians from the Blackwood parish, prayers about creation, a conversation on peace and justice, and time for reflection amongst nature.
Afterwards, attendees joined together for a BYO picnic in the picturesque setting.
Mercy Grove has a special place in the heart of many Blackwood parishioners who have worked tirelessly to revegetate the area, planting about 200 trees there to commemorate the Year of Mercy in 2016.
Meanwhile, Caritas Australia has welcomed Pope Francis’ recent apostolic exhortation Laudate Deum: To All People of Good Will on the Climate Crisis, which builds on the 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’, On Care for our Common Home.
Published on October 4, the feast of St Francis of Assisi, Laudate Deum stresses the undeniability of climate change and human activity as its cause, drawing attention to the exploitation of nature for the ends of technology and productivity.
Account is taken of the weakness of international politics in committing to efficient, obligatory, and readily monitored change. The need for ‘multilateralism from below’ – bringing together people and civil society across the world to push governments to action – is also acknowledged.
In turn, Pope Francis notes the importance of climate conferences and successes, such as the commitment to a Loss and Damage Fund for climate vulnerable countries, as he looks pointedly ahead at COP28 on November 30.
Finally, in its last chapter ‘Spiritual Motivations’, Laudate Deum reminds Catholics of their responsibility to care for God’s creation.
Kirsty Robertson, CEO of Caritas Australia said the aid agency was delighted to play a leading role in the implementation of the ecological vision of Pope Francis.
“Internationally we work on ecological restoration programs and helping at-risk communities prepare for disaster, as well as research and advocacy on access to climate finance and Loss and Damage, particularly in the Pacific,” she said.
“Within Australia we have a special role in the development of Laudato Si’ action plans, with our Catholic Earthcare program serving to extend these teachings to parishes, schools, organisations and the community.
“In light of Laudate Deum, we also call for broader participation in the act of holding those in power to account on delivering measurable, practical progress.”