Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical Laudato Si’ has challenged all Catholic communities to do more to care for the environment on which we all depend for life.
In June 2017, the Australian Jesuit Provincial Fr Brian McCoy SJ announced that the Province 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.
The Asia Pacific Jesuit Conference 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‘.
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.
A 2017 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 Advisory Group supports the ongoing process of ecological conversion as well as local and National environmental initiatives.