Some things exciting are coming!
This week, 5 years after Pope Francis’ historical encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home, the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development announced a special Laudato Si’ Anniversary Year from May 24, 2020 to May 24, 2021.
The dedication of this year comes at a poignant moment when the world is in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, a moment when we truly realize how closely we are all connected. But in this historic time there have been many new moments of brotherhood – people working together from all around the world, neighbors looking out for each other, families finding new joy in the every day life.
During this year the church is also celebrating the 25th anniversary of St. Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life). With these two prophetic documents, we are reminded of our calls as Catholics to work in all aspects of our lives to uphold life and the dignity of each human person, take action to support families now and those of future generations, love the poor and vulnerable, and care for all of God’s creation.
It is with this vision that we can all embark on this special year and the years to come with renewed efforts!
What is planned worldwide for the Laudato Si’ Anniversary Year?
In this announcement, the Dicastery initiated several programs, celebrations, and themes to take place worldwide throughout the year. The full list can be found in the Vatican document.
Laudato Si’ Action Platform
A very exciting 7-year program starting in early 2021 for various institutions to journey towards total sustainability in the spirit of integral ecology of Laudato Si’. Selected families, diocese, schools, universities, health care institutions, businesses/farms, and religious orders will begin first with growing numbers participating in following years to create a “critical mass” needed for transformation of society.
Several meetings are planned or include the themes of integral ecology during this anniversary year.
- Reinventing the Global Educational Alliance (October 15 2020)
- Economy of Francesco (November 21, 2020)
- World Economic Forum, Davos – Third Vatican Roundtable (January 26-29, 2021)
- Gathering of Religious Leaders (proposed) (early Spring 2021)
- Special Anniversary Conference (May 20-22, 2021)
Celebrations & Initiatives
- Season of Creation (September 1 – October 4, 2020)
- World Water Day (March 22, 2021)
- Laudato Si Living Chapels
- Read the Bible Contest 2020
- Documentary Film on Laudato Si’
- Laudato Si’ Awards
What will be the main focus areas of the year and programs? The Dicastery issued the following as the Laudato Si’ Goals (LSGs).
- Response to the Cry of the Earth (ex: greater use of clean renewable energy, reducing fossil fuels, efforts to protect and promote biodiversity, and guaranteeing access to clean water for all)
- Response to the Cry of the Poor (ex: defence of human life from
conception to death and all forms of life on Earth with special attention to vulnerable groups)
- Ecological Economics (ex: sustainable production, fair-trade, ethical
consumption, ethical investments, divestment from fossil fuels
and any economic activity harmful to the planet and the people)
- Adoption of Simple Lifestyles (sobriety in the use of resources and
energy, avoid single-use plastic, adopt a more plant-based diet, greater use of public transport and less use of polluting modes of transportation)
- Ecological Education (re-think and re-design educational curricula and educational institution reform in the spirit of integral ecology to create ecological awareness and action, promoting the ecological vocation of young people, teachers and leaders of education etc.)
- Ecological Spirituality (recover a religious vision of God’s creation, encourage greater contact with the natural world in a spirit of wonder, praise, joy and gratitude, promote creation-centred liturgical celebrations, develop ecological catechesis, prayer, etc.)
- Emphasis on Community involvement and participatory action to care for creation at the local, regional, national and international
levels (promote advocacy and people’s campaigns, encourage rootedness in local territory and neighbourhood ecosystems, etc.)
The document outlines more initiatives and details about the concluding celebration, but many of the projects are still in the planning phase.
What is the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development?
The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development is relatively new, being created in 2016 from the union of four Pontifical Councils, according to the wishes that our Holy Father Pope Francis expressed in his Apostolic Letter, Humanam Progressionem. The focus of the Dicastery is on the integral development of the person in light of the Gospel and in line with the Social Doctrine of the Church. It dedicates particular attention to taking care of the goods of justice, peace and the safeguarding of Creation, as well as issues regarding disarmament, human rights, human mobility, health, charitable works, expressing the concern and attention of the Pope towards a humanity that suffers, among whom are the needy, the ill and the excluded. The Dicastery is made up of laypeople, religious and priests, of various nationalities, who work together every day to carry out the Dicastery’s mission and programs. Learn more