Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato si’ has challenged all people to do more to care for the environment on which we all depend for life.
In June 2017, the Province announced that it would begin to move towards divestment in fossil fuels, and to commit to offsetting greenhouse gas emissions from air travel. The carbon offset scheme we are contributing to is Flights for Forests, a Jesuit-run initiative which supports forestry programs across the Asia-Pacific region.
A 2018 survey found that schools, social ministries, parishes and other ministries across the Province have a long history of reconciliation with creation. The Province Reconciliation with Creation Committee supports the ongoing process of ecological conversion and action as well as connecting the Province to other national and international environmental initiatives.
The Province Apostolic Plan 2019-2024 called for an extension of existing efforts.
The Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific has made ‘Reconciliation with Creation’ one of the key elements of its mission, calling on Jesuit ministries to develop concrete programs and initiatives to address environmental issues. More about these programs can be found at EcoJesuit.
In February 2019, Fr Arturo Sosa SJ, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, made public the four main reference points, known as ‘universal apostolic preferences‘, that are to guide the life and work of the Jesuits and their partners in mission over the next 10 years. One of these preferences is ‘to collaborate in the care of our Common Home‘.
In 2022, the group was renamed the Care for Our Common Home Committee. This new name picks up the same language as the Universal Apostolic Preferences and of the Pope’s Laudato si’ letter. In February 2022 a report was released on the ministry’s engagement with Care for Our Common Home Laudato Si’ Action Framework progress and a pilot project commenced with three ministries to look at developing our Jesuit the Ecological Impact tool, which is now available for each ministry to assess their ecological impact.
In 2021, the Reconciliation with Creation Committee developed the Laudato si’ Action Plan Framework to assist ministries plan, implement and report on their actions to embed care for our common home. It offers a holistic approach to sustainably engaging all within the ministry. The Framework has been created in harmony with the global Laudato si’ Action Platform, a unique collaboration between the Vatican, an international coalition of Catholic organisations and ‘all men and women of good will’ which will be rolled out in stages throughout 2021 and 2022.
‘The Laudato si’ Action Plan Framework is an opportunity to go deeper and seek out the Magis in terms of our response to Laudato si’. It is not about recording what we do already, but rather identifying what more we could do, in material and measurable terms – in the different context of each of our ministries and works – to achieve ecological conversion and better outcomes for our common home.’ – Fr Quyen Vu SJ, Australian Jesuit Provincial
The Province takes seriously the plea for Ecological Conversion in Laudato si’. The Centres of Ignatian Spirituality offer retreats and programs to help people connect with God in creation, e.g. Being with God in Nature Program. Many ministries encourage prayer and reflection by participating in the Season of Creation from 1 September to 4 October, and using the ecological examen tool.
In February 2020, the Australian Province engaged a project officer to assist our ecological conversion of the heart, a process seeking to move us from harmers to become healers of the earth. Each year a set of priorities will be adopted for the Province and its Ministries. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Other information and resources can be found at Catholic Earthcare Australia and Healing Earth.
Celebrating Laudato Si’ Week 2021
Green tips for inclusion in bulletins/newsletters
Information sheet #1: Sustainable paper
Information sheet #2: Just buying
Information sheet #3: Greenpower
Information sheet #4: Solar power
Information sheet #5: E10 and biofuels