To support the Church and the Pope is at the heart of our Identity as Marists. Our founder, Jean Claude Colin, in the founding days of the Society of Mary, understood Mary to have said 'I supported the Church at its birth; I shall do so again at the end of time' [C.2]. Following in the footsteps of those who began the Marist Project, we are determined to fulfil Mary's desire to be 'a support for the Church in these uncertain times' [C.5].We are called to do this with all our strength [C.6]. Fortunately for us Pope Francis is a Prophet as well as an Administrator, and so we find it a joy and a strength to support and defend him, and to encourage his vision and action to flourish.
A way of viewing Francis' Vision and Call, is to see Evangelii Gaudium
as his Vision and Call for the Church; Laudato Si
as his Vision and Call for an Integral Ecology; and Fratelli Tutti
as his Vision and Call for an Integral Humanity. His launching of the Synodal Way for the whole People of God, 10th
October, a unique event and first of its kind, is his Call to us, the whole People of God, to walk together this path of encounter, of listening, and of discerning
which will culminate in the Synod of Bishops in 2023.
A few weeks ago our Superior General and Council decided to sign the Pledge of Commitment for the Laudato Si Action Platform This is a commitment to walk with and support the People of God, and all good People in our world, to find strategic ways to develop and live an Integral Ecology – so crucial at this time for the future of our planet, all people, and all created species of life in our common home.
Yesterday, at our General House Community meeting, we decided to sign this same Pledge of Commitment as a Community, and we selected two community members who will guide us in this process: so that we in our particular time and place can find ways to make our contribution in developing a healthy planet and a healthy people. A few steps we have taken in recent years have been to develop a rain harvesting system to water our gardens; to install solar panels on our roof; and recently to live without a car.
We have also committed ourselves to praying daily for each of the 7 groups who are being called on this Journey to play their part in the 7 Year journey, which will now begin this year on November 14th, to achieve the 7 goals of Laudato Si. These Prayers are for Parishes and Dioceses, for Families, the Economy, Hospitals, Educational Institutions, Groups and Organizations, and Religious Orders.These Prayers are available in 9 Languages; and on the same site the Pledge of Commitment can be found in three languages.
Our call to personal holiness [C.10] must also include Francis' Call to social and political love: so that our lives are committed to bringing about the reign of God in the world he loves so much that he continues to be made incarnate here through our co-operation.
As these words are being written CoP15 - the Conference of the Parties on the Convention of Biological Diversity, is being held in Kunming, China, 11th-15th October. This conference must come with a concrete plan to reverse biodiversity loss and put nature on the path to recovery. This includes concrete measures to stop the extinction of species and protect 30% of land and 30% of seas by 2030.
Then from 31st October to 12th November the UN CoP26 – the Climate Change Confreres of the Parties - will be held in Glasgow. Cardinal Parolin, the Vatican head of State, who has led world leaders this week in Rome at the Faith and Science Conference, will be representing Pope Francis.
Let us pray for these events, with Mary, mother of the new creation, that faith, hope, and love will prevail.