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Upcoming Brisbane forum invites local parishes to discuss ways of Living Laudato Si’ in practice

Climate action: A coastal scene in Kiribati. Rising sea levels are threatening to sink Kiribati’s land area and ultimately displace its people. Photo: Caritas

AGAINST the backdrop of a summer of unprecedented bushfires across Australia, Brisbane Catholics are preparing for a forum on the Church response to the broad range of today’s environmental and social justice issues in the light of faith.

Our Lady Queen of Apostles Parish, Stafford, is hosting the forum – Care for Our Common World: Living Laudato Si’ … Think Globally, Act Locally – on Saturday, February 15.

Inspired by Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’ (On Care for Our Common Home), the parish is inviting members of other communities around the archdiocese and people from other denominations to discuss and discover how best to follow the Pope’s call in spiritual and practical ways.

“This forum is an opportunity for individuals, parishes and the wider community to engage with the wisdom of Pope Francis as he challenges all people of good will to make an ‘ecological conversion’,” a spokeswoman for the Stafford parish’s environment committee Louise Scott said.

“… We will look at the message within Laudato Si’, engage with guest speakers from government, non-government and Christian organisations, exchange ideas and grow in knowledge, so that we are better equipped to care for our common home.”  

Catholic Earthcare Australia director Bernard Holland, who will be a guest speaker, is encouraging people of the archdiocese to support the initiative. 

“In 2018, I attended a parish Laudato Si’ gathering in Box Hill parish, Melbourne, attended by many parishes who shared their journey of action, flowing from the inspiration that Laudato Si’ gave them,” Mr Holland said.

“Since that time, we have been encouraging other centres of worship to try the same type of sharing and inspiration event with the goal of bringing Laudato Si’ to life within the body of the practising faith community and beyond, because we know that when we engage others in meaningful exchanges, we elevate (our) consciousness and when we provide meaningful formation in both ecological literacy and theological literacy we connect the hands and head through the heart.

“When we have a well formed ecological heart we would never consciously hurt what we love.

“This is the essence of Laudato Si’ and the essence that drives us to want to protect, to care for, and nurture each other and our common home in kinship.

“The bringing together of parishes within the Brisbane archdiocese will help start connecting the good works already happening with the possibilities of the future while bringing parish communities together.”

Auxiliary Bishop Ken Howell, who leads the archdiocese’s Living Laudato Si’ steering committee, will open the forum.

Fellow committee member Netta Sheridan will speak on behalf of Bracken Ridge parish’s Care for Creation group about its experiences, and other speakers will include Franciscan Father Joe McKay and a representative from Engineers Without Borders.

The forum will be held from 9am-1.45pm on February 15 at Our Lady Queen of Apostles, 70 Appleby Rd, Stafford. Expressions of interest to be directed to the Stafford parish office by email at stafford@bne.catholic.net.au or by calling (07) 3356 7155.

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