As we celebrate the Season of Creation this year, we at Jesuit Missions UK are happy to share a number of reflections, resources and ideas for you to use in your schools, online classes or at home.
Jubilee for the Earth – A reflection by Paul Chitnis, Jesuit Missions Director
What is a Jubilee? For many of us, it’s a time to celebrate a significant birthday or anniversary.
Preparing for the Great Jubilee year of 2000, St John Paul II wrote that “the joy of every Jubilee is above all a joy based upon the forgiveness of sins, the joy of conversion,” which is “the pre-condition for reconciliation with God on the part of both individuals and communities.”
This Season of Creation is then a moment for each of us to think about how we need to be reconciled with creation for it is no longer possible for anyone to say that they do not know how our natural world is being despoiled. It is therefore not possible to avoid the conclusion that harming creation is harming our relationship with its creator, God.
I have seen this harm in countless communities in developing countries where people depend on the land for their survival. In Britain, adverse weather has little serious impact on what we eat or drink. But for the 746 million people who experience grave food insecurity, a lost crop can mean the difference between life and death.
The Coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the inequalities which exist within and between countries. One Jesuit in Africa told me that his people would rather die of COVID-19 than the slow death of hunger.
St John Paul reminds us that “a commitment to justice and peace in a world like ours, marked by so many conflicts and intolerable social and economic inequalities, is a necessary condition for the preparation and celebration of the Jubilee.”
What an opportunity and responsibility we have to respond to this challenge! What joy can we find in our own conversion – our desire to be reconciled with our created world! This is a Jubilee worthy of its name.
Activities for the Classroom – in person or virtual
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. St. Teresa of Kolkata”.
For staff and secondary school students – we have put together a series of Earth challenges for you and your colleagues or students to try out this Season of Creation and some interesting facts on how each one can help to care for our common home. See More Here
For primary school students – we have designed a suggestion for a ‘Caring for Creation’ wall art in your classroom or in a main area of your school to represent the ways in which your students are caring for our environment together with practical suggestions on how to do so. See More Here
Webinar – Beauty, Justice and Hope in the Amazon
On Tuesday 22nd September at 6.30pm GMT we will host a webinar with Leah Casimero and Joel Thompson which you are most welcome to join!
Leah Casimero participated in the Synod on the Amazon in 2019, where she was invited in her capacity as coordinator of the Quality Bilingual Education Programme for Wapichan Children.
Joel Thompson SJ is a Guyanese Jesuit who has lived and worked among the indigenous people in the Central Rupununi region of Guyana.
A Series of Reflections
During the Season of Creation, you will find a series of prayer reflections on our website and social media from leading authors, including:
Fr Damian Howard SJ – Provincial Superior of the Jesuit British Province. Fr Howard has served in a variety of roles over the years. He has taught Theology at Heythrop College and was a delegate to the 36th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus in Rome.
Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ -Director of the Vatican Observatory. A popular speaker and author, his books include Brother Astronomer: Adventures of a Vatican Scientist and God’s Mechanics: How Scientists and Engineers Make Sense of Religion.
Dr Celia Deane-Drummond is Director of the Laudato Si Research Institute Campion Hall Oxford
Dr Theodora Hawksley of the London Jesuit Centre
Fr Xavier Jeyaraj SJ – Director of the Jesuit Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat in Rome
Fr Richard Leonard SJ is an expert on film and media and has served on juries at numerous film festivals, including Cannes and Venice. He is a widely published author; whose books include What does it all mean? and Where the Hell is God?
Fr James Martin SJ, author and editor at large for America Magazine. His books include Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life and The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life.
Dr Ciara Murphy is Environmental Policy Officer with the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice, Dublin Ireland
An Invitation to Pray Together
On Sunday 4th October to mark the end of Season of Creation and the Feast of St Francis of Assisi we invite you and your students to take time to pray and light a candle to show your commitment to caring for our common home. This will be taking place across the British Province of the Society of Jesus in homes, parishes, and schools at 7.00 p.m., just after sunset.