An encyclical is a letter. Encyclicals are the second highest ranking documents penned by a Pope. They are about current issues and are a call to conversion and action and as such have relevance beyond the Catholic, and religious, community.
‘Laudato Si’, translates as ‘Praised Be’ and takes inspiration from the writings credited to St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of environment and of Pope Francis. And ‘Laudato Si’ was perhaps the most anticipated letter on Earth; it is an encyclical written by Pope Francis and is a timely reminder that the planet our planet is a common home. It expresses that It is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us.
As indicated in the subtitle, ‘on the care of our common earth’, readers of the encyclical are being called to responsibility and relationship with Earth, creation and the universe in new ways. The theology and moral imperatives of this new responsibility and relationship is the substance of the encyclical. How the pivotal issues of today are addressed, such as climate change and lifting the burdens of the poor, will be informed by this new relationship.
Sr Mary-Ann Casanova, the Executive Director of Rahamim Ecology Centre, Bathurst, said, “We welcome the encyclical. It goes to the heart of what Rahamim Ecology Centre teaches and advocates. It adds credibility to our programs and courses. It is our mission to provide educational programs and opportunities which promote new understandings of the universe, science and theology. It is Rahamim’s vision to enable participants to integrate practices of sustainability and spirituality in everyday life.”
Aspects of the encyclical will be incorporated into Rahamim’s programs in July. After the winter break, the book study circle will take the encyclical as their book.