John Paul II.2
Over the last few months, Earthcare has been setting up ASSISI, the new sustainability initiative, and developing relationships with a variety of collaborative partners so that we can enable Catholic schools, parishes, congregations and church organisations to achieve ecological sustainability.
When we set up a new relationship with an organisation, government or non government, we share with them the following Principles of Earthcare and I would like to also share them with you:
This makes clear where Earthcare is coming from and creates a space for effective partnerships to develop.
In this edition of Earthcare E-News you will see how much momentum is being gathered as Earthcare moves to work with all parts of the Catholic Church and beyond to achieve ecological sustainability. You will also see the announcement that our new CD-Rom ‘Reefs of Revelation’ is now available. This resource highlights the importance of looking after our reefs and uses the latest learning technology.
You will also read about Earthcare’s involvement in World Youth Day. It was wonderful to meet the young pilgrims from around the world and hear their desire for justice and peace with God’s Creation. One of the most rewarding moments for me was during the World Youth Day Earthcare event when I met with Minh Le Quan, a French Vietnamese who founded the Cambodia Young People for Development (YPD) team. Minh has been involved in working with GERES over recent years to assist with large events, like the World Cup, to become carbon neutral.
It is in supporting people to develop and sustain an authentic relationship with Gods gifts of creation and the development of community around these relationships that is at the heart of Catholic Earthcare’s work and which was also part of the celebration of World Youth Day.
Jacqui Remond, Director
Spring - Wonder at the budding and blossoming! We have two "ecological saints" to celebrate.
1. Hildegard of Bingen (17th Sept). Hildegard spoke of the greening ever creating power of God.
"I, God, stir everything into quickness with invisible life...for the ___ in green power and blossoming"
2. Francis of Assisi (4th Oct) is better known for his cosmic sense of deep relationship (interconnectedness).
"Brother Sun, Sister Moon... be praised. My Lord for our Sister Earth nourishing and watching us while bring forth abundant fruits."
May we this Spring walk mindfully, conscious of God-Energy in everything, in rich connectedness with all. May we be a Spring song of praise to our God. Amen.
ASSISI: A new initiative of Catholic Earthcare Australia
The planet Earth is a single community bound together with interdependent relationships. No living being nourishes itself. Each component of the Earth community is immediately or mediately dependent on every other member of the community for the nourishment and assistance it needs for its own survival. This mutual nourishment, which includes the predator-prey relationships, is integral with the role that each component of the earth has within the comprehensive community of existence. (One of the ten basic precepts in Thomas Berry’s “Right of the earth” in Resurgence (2002).
Earthcare has consistently maintained an approach to ecology that is concerned not only with ‘caring for the environment’, but also with ‘social’ and ‘human’ ecology. It seeks to bring about a change of heart in all that it does - a cultural conversion away from self - centredness to other - centredness. This is the ecological conversion that leads us to respect and care for creation, and recognize the handiwork of God throughout the universe.
This is nowhere more manifest than in Earthcare’s new initiative, aptly named ASSISI. While the fuller name A Strategic, Systems-based, Integrated, Sustainability Initiative might suggest a highly technical and scientific approach to environmental sustainability, what ASSISI seeks to do is bring about the inner conversion referred to above. It does this by bringing together schools, their local parishes, congregations, church organisations, and local government, into a single learning community to work together to understand their local concerns and issues, and design their own programs around ecological sustainability.
Ecology is integral to these programs: whether we are talking about the physical environment and church grounds, the resources that are used, or the spiritual dimension of organisational life. Earthcare is working with all elements of the core business of organisations to ensure that the ecological dimension is threaded through the fabric of the organisation. With schools, this is the entire teaching and learning process. We are starting with 5 pilot schools (and their local parishes and broader communities) in the Sydney Diocese, working through the Catholic Education Office, and in collaboration with organisations that collect scientific data and report on specifics such as carbon emissions. As always, Earthcare strives to bring together good science and good theology.
In pursuing this initiative, Earthcare is seeking to live the key principles used by the Church to test public policy. An example of one of the principles is: justice must be enacted in a spirit of love to create a society marked by genuine solidarity (Towards a Practical Theology of Welfare: Guiding Principles for Catholic Social Welfare Agencies COMMON Wealth Vol 5 No1 April 1996).
This ‘enactment’ involves a process of engagement through ASSISI that encourages participation, inclusiveness, mutuality and reciprocity, as learning communities seek to establish common ground and a common vision through conversation. In seeking engagement and dialogue we are adopting a means of social change that is consistent with our ends, namely furthering the common good while respecting the difference and dignity of the local context.
"Earthcare: Caring for God's Creation" World Youth Day Carbon Neutral Event
The environmental event for WYD was thoroughly enjoyed by all who were present at Darling Harbour on July 18th 2008. Engaging music from the SOUL band and inspiring words from all the speakers were the highlights of the event. Bishop Toohey framed the night speaking about the “big picture”: our place in the cosmos and who we are called to be as human beings on planet Earth.
Erica Spry shared her story about being an Aboriginal Catholic woman and her calling to encourage all to understand the importance of caring for creation. Anne Kajir told us about her work as an environmental lawyer in PNG, and highlighted her concerns about forest destruction, human rights abuses, and West Papua refugees.
It was an excellent event for all those who attended. The carbon emissions were calculated for 2000 people to attend the event and travel from around the globe as well as from around Australia.
The director of Catholic Earthcare shares her approach to hosting a carbon neutral event: "We planned the event carefully to reduce our carbon emissions and set up a carbon offset plan to offset our collective carbon emissions. We chose a social justice project through the organisation GERES, who developed the fuel saving New Lao Stove."
To see the stoves and learn about this carbon credit program have a look at this Youtube video with Iwan Baskoro, Director of GERES Cambodia who said: "Green is the ordinary colour of the Church."
A DVD recording of this special event will soon be made available through the Catholic Earthcare Australia website: www.catholicearthcare.org.au.
If you would like to be notified when this DVD becomes available, please place your contact details in the boxes below.
(Your details will not be disclosed to any third party)
Youth Leaders Formation Course
It is with great excitement that the Sydney Archdiocese has decided to run another Youth Leaders Formation Course from the 25th November to 20th December 2008.
I have attached the flyer to this email with all the details and would greatly appreciate if you could please email it out to all your networks and encourage anyone who you think would be a great potential candidate! The course is primarily for Sydney youth however there are some available places for other dioceses particularly youth from rural dioceses. This course will provide wonderful formation of heart and mind for youth covering a wide range of topics given by a variety of excellent speakers. For flyer click here.
Catholic Earthcare's New Environmental Education Resource - Reefs of Revelation CD-Rom
Our new environmental education resource is now available through Catholic Earthcare Ausralia. The “Reefs of Revelation” CD-Rom comprises a multi-media interactive ecological spirituality lesson in five sections:
Each section has been designed for upper primary and secondary school students. A new feature is the pop up button that appears throughout each section for secondary students to explore the content area and some more complex concepts further. The aim of the CD-Rom is to heighten awareness about all Australian reefs and lead the viewer to make a stronger connection with the gift of our beautiful reefs and to consciously care for them.
The CD-Rom also contains teaching materials for a range of educational levels about reefs, a spiritual reflection powerpoint show that can be used during school assembly or during a liturgy, links to organisations that care for Australia’s reef and a beautiful film showing the Coral Sea. Thank you to those who have expressed an interest in this resource. We appreciate your patience and hope that you enjoy making use of this special resource on St Francis of Assisi’s feast day - October 4th. Click here for order form.
A New Partnership - Catholic Earthcare Australia
and Catholic Health Australia
On August 27th I had the honour of speaking at the Catholic Health Australia Conference. The theme was: Catching the Wave, captured in the following Liturgy Guide: “We all know we can walk down the beach at times sad, forlorn, hurting, aching, feeling awful. We catch a wave and we come back from that experience healthier, brighter as if we have been remade. The ocean may be seen as a laboratory where rules for living can be tested, with swift and immediate feedback.” (Baker, 2007)
I was faced with the challenge of being the final speaker and decided not to spend too much time “lecturing” to the participants who had already heard from an array of interesting and learned speakers over the two and half day conference. I had a great deal I wanted to share with the conference delegates including a new paper on how to move from awareness to achieving sustainability.
My head and heart urged me to provide a space for reflection and contemplation. So I asked some questions and encouraged people to discuss with one another their ideas around nurturing the planet and their place of work. I shared some examples of environmental initiatives that are setting new benchmarks in the Catholic Health sector before introducing ASSISI and describing what can be achieved through working collaboratively with Catholic Earthcare Australia.
My offer was well received and I am delighted to share with you that Catholic Earthcare Australia and Catholic Health Australia have undertaken to work together to produce a foundational document that will set out why, what, and how to achieve ecological sustainability for health care providers. ASSISI will be part of this work, and as with the education sector, will provide a pathway to achieve ecological sustainability. Through ASSISI I believe that Catholic Earthcare is creating a wave that is big enough for everyone to ride ... by becoming involved in this experience we will all feel much “healthier and brighter, as if we have been remade”.
A Parish in Action
Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish, Kirribilli, NSW.
Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish Community, together with the Parish Communities of St Mary’s at North Sydney and St Francis Xavier at Lavender Bay form the greater parish of Our Lady of the Way.
The Pastoral Team at Our Lady Star of the Sea have decided to establish a committee to look at the parish's impact on the environment and to facilitate parishioners working together generally in support of the environment....more
New home for Catholic Earthcare Australia
On the 25th of August the new premises for Catholic Earthcare Australia, Caritas Australia and the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council was officially opened. A liturgy and blessing was conducted by Bishop Eugene Hurley and Australia's Ambassador designate to the Holy See, Tim Fischer AC officially opened the building, Caritas House.
In blessing the new premises Bishop Hurley quoted from Pope Benedict VXI's first encyclical, "This is more than a building, it is a symbol of what we do despite our failings to make a just world." ... more