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 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 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.
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In 2021, the Committee developed the Laudato si’ Planning Process and Action Plan 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.
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.
Laudato si’ Action Plan
The Australian Jesuit Province has developed a Laudato si’ Action Plan Framework which is currently in consultation phase and will provide the Province with a framework to advance ecological conversion across our ministries and works.
‘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 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.