Rome (Italy). From 15 to 25 May 2021, Laudato Sì Week took place promoted by the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development and by the World Catholic Movement for Climate, in collaboration with about 150 Catholic organizations and of other religious professions.
The Title of Laudato Sì Week, “We know that things can change,” recalls the appeal of Pope Francis, “The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change” (LS n. 13).
Each day was accompanied by webinars with insights and dialogues, activities and initiatives aimed at promoting a change in the way of thinking and acting in order to protect the common home.
The webinar Dialogue Laudato Si’ on 17 May, began the Week, examining political opportunities in 2021 to create change in preparation for the United Nations Conference on Biodiversity (COP15) and the United Nations Climate Conference (COP26) to be held on 11-24 October in China, and in November 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland. Fr. Augusto Zampini, of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, spoke with indigenous leaders and some young people on the key role of these conferences in the restart after the pandemic, to restore harmony between humanity and nature and build a culture of care and justice.
In the Webinar of 18 May, Dialogue Laudato Sì on Education, exponents of various universities and educational institutions from different parts of the world shared the experiences of integrating Laudato Sì into the curricula and the integral education of people. “Whatever we do is rooted in the spirit of contemplation, of wonder at the world, of paying attention to what is happening around us,” said Séverine Deneulin, of the Laudato Sì Research Institute Oxford University (UK ).
Dialogue Laudato Sì on energy and fossil fuels, on 19 May, with the aim of increasing awareness of the role of energy and fossil fuels in the crisis of the common home and of the impacts on health, focused attention on the Vatican Guidelines for disinvestment, an ethical choice for a greater commitment of the catholic world.
In the Webinar “Sow Hope for the planet” of 20 May, spoke of eco-spirituality and the journey of ecological conversion, both personal and community, towards creation and the most vulnerable people. in the course of the event, there was presented and promoted the Network of Prayer for the Care of Creation, a network of religious contemplative communities and lay people committed to Eucharistic Adoration for the common home.
A global appeal for all people, communities, and institutions around the world called to organize concrete actions to take care of the common home, characterized the “World Day of Action for our Common Home” on 21 May. Numerous community initiatives for the care of creation have been published on the social networks of the World Catholic Climate Movement, carried out in the five continents and collected by the Dicastery in the book “Laudato sì Reader“.
On 22 May 1992, to celebrate World Biodiversity Day that commemorates the adoption of the Convention on the Biological Diversity of the Planet, the cultural festival was held “Songs for Creation”, with the aim of presenting the biodiversity lost to the world and its consequences, focusing on biodiversity problems in the areas of artists and musicians.
On 23 May, Pentecost Sunday, broadcast from Assisi and Rome was the Prayer Encounter for the closing of the Year of the Special Anniversary Laudato Sì, led by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, to express gratitude to God the Creator and to give the missionary mandate to the local Laudato sì animators and other pastoral workers, so that the Gospel of Creation may be proclaimed in the whole Earth.
On 24 May, there was a round table on access to drinking water and sanitation in Catholic health facilities, which was attended by His Eminence Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. In too many populations around the world, access to drinking water is still a desire to be fulfilled. Following the publication of the document Aqua fons vitae the Dicastery for Integral Human Development provided an update on its WASH project (access to drinking water and basic sanitation) in a selected number of health facilities belonging to the Catholic Church.
On the same day, the sixth anniversary of the publication of the Encyclical Laudato Sì (24 May 2015) was celebrated. Pope Francis encouraged Catholic communities around the world to work to solve the ecological crisis and the climate emergency.
Laudato Sì Week ended on 25 May 2021, with the official launch of the Laudato Sì Initiative Platform, coordinated by a group of experts from the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. “A seven-year journey that will see our communities committed in different ways, so that they become totally sustainable, in the spirit of integral ecology”, explains Pope Francis. The path is aimed at families, parish and diocesan communities, schools and universities, hospitals, businesses, farms, and religious institutes, in order to assume a sustainable lifestyle.
At the press conference for the launch of the “Laudato sì Action Platform” (LSAP) there was no lack of young people’s voices. The animator, Carolina Bianchini, representative of the World Catholic Climate Movement, closely involved in the preparation of the Laudato Sì Platform, made an appeal to her generation: “Take the ecological crisis seriously. Our future is at stake. We need urgent action”.
In the video message for the launch of the Platform, the Holy Father urged us to continue the journey by working together: “We have a great responsibility, especially towards future generations. What world do we want to leave for our children and our young people? Our selfishness, our indifference, and our irresponsible styles are threatening the future of our children! So I renew my appeal, let’s take care of our mother Earth, let’s overcome the temptation of selfishness that makes us predators of resources, let’s cultivate respect for the gifts of the Earth and creation, let’s inaugurate a lifestyle and a society that is finally eco-sustainable. We have the opportunity to prepare a better tomorrow for all. From the hands of God we have received a garden, we cannot leave a desert for our children… There is hope. We can all collaborate, each with their own culture and experience, each with their own initiatives and abilities, so that our mother Earth returns to its original beauty and creation returns to shine according to God’s plan”.