It would come as no surprise to you that relationships form most of my weekly engagements.
On this eve of World Environment Day (5 June), I am preparing to rise very early to join a gathering of people for a candlelight prayer vigil for the environment. I have been invited to speak and will share with them the words of Pope Francis from Laudato Si’ about Integral Ecology. These words will invite people into an awareness of our close connection with all of creation. We form an intricate ecosystem in which each part is dependent on each other part, in a fine balance.
An integral ecology includes taking time to recover a serene harmony with creation, reflecting on our lifestyle and our ideals, and contemplating the Creator who lives among us and surrounds us. (LS n. 225)
The theme for this year’s World Environment Day is #BeatPlasticPollution, https://www.worldenvironmentday.global/ We are reminded that it is time to accelerate this action and transition to a circular economy. This annual day encourages awareness and action for the protection of the environment.
Decree Eight from the Plenary Council of Australia – Integral Ecology and Conversion for the Sake of Our Common Home – reminds us that as drought, bushfires, floods, and extreme weather have become more common in Australia, we realise the urgency of responding to our baptismal calling of taking up God’s mission of love for the whole of creation.
Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or secondary aspect of our Christian experience. (LS N. 217)
At the beginning of last week, the staff from the diocesan offices gathered for our National Reconciliation Week Prayer Service which invited people to reflect on the Uluru Statement from the Heart. We were invited to connect with the tribal lands on which our diocese is located and to walk with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters. The ongoing challenge is about honouring this relationship with the First Nations People of this land along with its land and waterways.
Makarrata is the culmination of our agenda: the coming together after a struggle. It captures our aspirations for a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia and a better future for our children based on justice and self-determination. (Words from the Uluru Statement from the Heart)
On Friday, several of us from Pastoral Ministries, CatholicCare and the Ecumenical and Interfaith Council attended the 15th Newcastle Lord Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast with almost 400 other people. A number of Christian Leaders prayed for the City of Newcastle, its people and businesses. Newcastle has a heritage of church and civic leaders coming together to pray for the welfare of the city.
The scripture quote from Jerimiah 29:7 was its focus:
Work for the peace and prosperity of the city….pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.
Each year, a charity is chosen by the Lord Mayor to be recognised for the work they do in the community. Over the last 14 years more than $134,000 has been donated to local charities. One of the purposes of this gathering in prayer is to build relationships.
On Wednesday evening we hosted a dinner at the diocesan offices to welcome David Barrow, the new Organiser for the Hunter Community Alliance. It was a simple but lovely evening of story sharing and relationship building.
I believe those of us blest to work within Pastoral Ministries and the wider diocesan community, are indeed called on to form relationships in line with our trinitarian belief in a relational God. I have shared with you in this week’s message just some of those opportunities afforded to us during the past week. This is just a small sample of what happens across our varied church communities every week. We are called upon to live the Trinity.
I think our Second Reading (2 Cor 13:11-13) from St Paul captures this beautifully:
Brothers, we wish you happiness; try to grow perfect; help one another. Be united; live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.
Greet one another with the holy kiss. All the saints send you greetings.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Every blessing for the week ahead,
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