Pope Francis has launched a seven-year “Laudato Sí Action Platform” aimed at helping communities become “totally sustainable, in the spirit of integral ecology.”
The pontiff announced the new initiative in a video-message at the conclusion of the so-called “Laudato Sí Year” celebrating the fifth anniversary of the eponymous encyclical dedicated to “care of our common home.”
The Laudato Sí Action Platform (LSAP) is the brainchild of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. At a press conference in the Vatican on Tuesday morning, the prefect of the dicastery, Cardinal Turkson, said “Now more than ever it’s time to act, to do something concrete.”
He insisted, “We must listen to and respond to science, to the cry of the Earth, of the poor, and of our children… We must become painfully aware of the personal suffering it causes and as a result dare to use our agency to transform lived realities that listen to and abide by socio-ecological limits.”
Turkson’s adjutant, Fr Josh Kureethadam SDB, laid out details of the plan. The LSAP, he said, “is a journey to realise the integral ecological vision of Laudato Sí… a journey towards total sustainability in the spirit of the integral ecology.” To that end, the Dicastery proposes seven “Laudato Sí Goals”: the response to the cry of the earth the response to the cry of the poor, ecological economics, adoption of simple lifestyles, ecological education, ecological spirituality, and community involvement and participatory action.
The seven-year plan, Fr Kureethadam explained, will have three stages, with the first year dedicated to “the three fundamental tasks of community building, resource sharing, and drawing up concrete plans for the realisation of the seven Laudato Sí goals.” The following five years will be dedicated to concrete actions, while the final year of the project “will be the Sabbatical year to praise and thank God.”
The program is intended to be carried out in seven key sectors or environments, including families, parishes, schools and businesses. In his video message, Pope Francis invited everyone, but especially those in the various sectors, to “work together,” saying “only in this way will we be able to create the future we want: a more inclusive, fraternal, peaceful, and sustainable world.”
Continuing his presentation, Fr Kureethadam said the LSAP can be realised “only through partnership, walking the ‘synodal’ path that Pope Francis is proposing to the entire Church.” While the Dicastery will spearhead the efforts, it will collaborate with various church organs, movements, and NGO’s, such as Caritas Internationalis, the Global Catholic Climate Movement, the Union of Religious Superiors in Rome, and Ecclesial Networks like REPAM and REMAM in the Americas and REBAC in Africa.
The LSAP, said Fr Kureethadam, “is really a journey in partnership as we respond to Pope Francis’s invitation to enter into dialogue in action ‘about how we are shaping the future of our planet.’”
He said the “prayer and dream” of the Dicastery “is to initiate ‘a people’s movement from below’ that can really bring about the radical change needed given the urgency of the crisis of our common home.”
Fr Kureethadam concluded his presentation with the announcement of a website, in multiple languages, to promote the Laudato Sí Action Platform.
Pope Francis, for his part, ended his video-message with words of encouragement. “There is hope,” he said. “We can all collaborate, each one with his own culture and experience, each one with her own initiatives and capacities, so that our mother Earth may be restored to her original beauty and creation may once again shine according to God’s plan.”
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