By Aloysius John, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis
On May 24, 2015, the Holy father signed Laudato Sì, raising a prophetic voice to challenge humanity on the state of our common home. The key question was, in what state we wanted to leave our common home as a heritage for our children, the future generation. He wanted humanity to be aware of the common good and that we be stewards to safeguard this divine gift given to mankind.
The Holy Father insisted that Integral Ecology, putting the human person at the centre of all our activities in this world where everything is interconnected, was the key for building a better future world. He insisted, as stewards, that each one of us was responsible and had to do our part as an instrument of God in the care of creation.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given us clear indications on the vulnerability and the fragility of our modern world, reinforcing Pope Francis’ prophetic words on the need for caring for Mother Earth. It has brought to us clearly that we are all interconnected and we cannot live in ignorance of the other or in isolation from others. It has brought to evidence the fact that we are co-responsible for everything and it is our duty to protect the human person, the environment, nature and the society in which we live.
The fifth anniversary of Laudato Sì, in the context of COVID-19 brings to us the key message of Pope Francis, that ecological conversion has to take place now, before it is too late. Let the commemoration of the fifth anniversary be a kairos, a moment of reflection, change and ecological conversion to engage in building a new world, a new beginning in the spirit of Laudato Sì, where each one of us in a spirit of fraternity can hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor, to build a just society and a safe living environment as stewards.
The fifth anniversary will be lived in close cooperation with the Dicastery for Integral Human Development and a series of events and reflection are proposed. We are all called to take part in them through reflection in small groups, as colleagues, in parishes, in schools etc.
As Caritas, our primary force and the essence of our mission is in communities and parishes. I encourage you to share these events and animate your communities to sensitise them on the importance of becoming actors in changing our world by converting our hearts and minds. The spirit of natural solidarity nurtured during the COVID-19 pandemic must continue and each one of us must be made responsible for our common home, the Mother Earth.
Care for Mother Earth is first an individual responsibility leading to a collective responsibility and engagement wherein each one of us has a role to play.