Every year the Catholic Church marks the anniversary of Pope Francis’ landmark encyclical Laudato si’, celebrating what it means to care for our common home. This year, Laudato Si’ Week runs from 19 to 26 May and centres on the theme ‘seeds of hope’. The theme invites us to consider how we might plant and nurture the seeds of hope that the world needs during this time of suffering for our planet (Laudate Deum, §2).

To support Laudato Si’ Week, Caritas Australia’s Catholic Earthcare program is helping parishes and schools celebrate and delve deeper with three new resources—one each for primary school, secondary school and parish audiences—all available for download here.

All three resources tell the story of Chiquito, a farmer in Timor-Leste who has learnt drought- and flood-resistant farming techniques to improve income and food security for his family. Teachers of students in grades 4–12 can also sign their classes up to attend Q&A sessions exploring the impact that climate change is having on communities in Timor-Leste and what we can do to help.

Caritas Australia is also calling on the community to act by engaging with the Together We: Tree of Life campaign. Together We is a campaign launched by Caritas Internationalis that aims to encourage people to take collective action to fight poverty, uphold dignity and protect nature in the spirit of integral ecology.

Laudato Si’ Week is a time to reflect on how to care for our common home and a time to pray that we may become seeds of hope for our world.

As part of this, the Tree of Life campaign invites us to connect with our local members of parliament on how we can care for our common home. To do this, students and parishes can write their message on a leaf and add it to their own ‘tree of life’, with ideas on how to create one included in the school resources.

Participants are encouraged to share their tree on social media using #TogetherWeBelong, tagging Caritas Australia, a local MP, @catholicearthcareaustralia and @iamcaritas.

Kirsty Robertson, CEO at Caritas Australia, says, ‘Laudato Si’ Week is a time to reflect on how to care for our common home and a time to pray that we may become seeds of hope for our world. Together We ensures that we take this task on collectively.

‘Whether you join a Q&A, read Chiquito’s story, contact your MP, create a tree of life or simply engage with some of the prayer and reflection cards, please know that every action counts towards our collective response to the cry of the earth.’

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s Office for Justice, Ecology and Peace has also created Laudato si’ Week resources focused on some of the ecological problems faced by Indigenous peoples and on the work Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are doing to heal Country.

Banner image: Chiquito on his farm in Timor-Leste. All photos courtesy of Caritas Australia.