At the end of October 2021, the UK will host COP 26, the UN’s annual climate conference, in Glasgow. It will gather world leaders and governments, including Pope Francis and the Holy See, to discuss climate change and renew commitments to ending the climate crisis. The Conference has a heightened significance this year, as for the first time since the 2015 Paris Agreement, States will be reporting back on their progress made, as well as making ambitious pledges to halt environmental degradation and cultivate care for our common home. Yet we cannot leave the healing of our common home merely to a response from governments, we each have a role to play.
Providentially, as the world prepares for this key moment, the Church invites us to celebrate ‘The Season of Creation.’ Each year from the 1 September until the Feast on St Francis on 4 October, we are invited to celebrate creation, to care for it and to renew our relationship with the Lord, our Creator. Here in England and Wales, we have taken this Season as an opportunity to showcase and celebrate some of the excellent environmental work happening across our Church. On our website this month you will find a variety of stories seeking to make a positive impact to the great challenge of climate change. From the Guardians of Creation project which is conducting research into the local Church’s response to the ecological crisis, The Laudato Si Centre in my own diocese which aspires to be a ‘flagship of environmental change’ and the many creative parish, school and diocesan projects- each story is different, but each is making a vital impact.
Each story is also a testimony to an integral ecology, which Pope Francis says is made up of simple daily gestures that seek to build a better world. As we approach COP 26, I hope these stories encourage you and your communities to renew your commitment to living our vocation as protectors of God’s handiwork and make you determined to play your part in caring for our common home. In the weeks ahead, I ask you to pray for all leaders and governments attending COP 26 and to make the most of this beautiful Season of Creation in taking time to reflect on our relationship with our creator God, with each other and the gift that is our common home
Bishop John Arnold
Bishop of Salford
The Parish of Blessed James Bell in Warrington has been hard at work integrating the message of Laudato Si’ into the life of their parish - starting with the presbytery garden at St Benedict’s.
Launched in December 2020, Guardians of Creation is a collaborative project that aims to help the Catholic community in England and Wales work towards a carbon-neutral and more sustainable future, inspired by the teachings of Laudato Si’.
Journey to 2030, was launched in advent, 2018 by Bishop Richard Moth of Arundel and Brighton. The project is organized through the Ecological Conversion Group, which runs in partnership with the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton.
The Laudato Si' Centre provides a space for practical action to care for our common home. It is a statement of hope, aflood with signs of ecological activity, rooted in the belief that all of us can make a difference.
St Peter’s Roman Catholic High School in Manchester has an Eco Committee comprising of 100 students - approximately 10% of the entire school. It has been working hard to cut the school’s carbon footprint and to engage with the wider community on ways to join the fight for the environment.
St Mary’s Catholic school has put Laudato Si’ at the heart of its curriculum, carrying out a wide variety of environmental activities that give children the chance to see how social action can make a difference throughout the whole community.