In the light of recent media exposure about Climate Change it seems appropriate to share our experience of the Global Healing programme (Care for our Common Home).
In November last year our Parish Priest gave me a large brown envelope and said he thought I might be interested in its contents. Inside was a letter from the Bishops Conference suggesting the parish looked at the Laudato Si document by the Pope, addressed to the world in 2015 about Climate Change and its consequences, and ran the Global Healing course developed from the document and presented by the CaFE Team.
It suggested two evenings and to be suitable for Advent. Five of us got together and watched the material and thought about it. The course is challenging and we felt it contained too much material for two evenings and we also felt we were too close to Advent to get it up and running in time. We decided to meet again in the New Year and make a plan then!
The course can be downloaded and shown from a computer quite easily; however, we decided to buy the DVD from CaFE so it was available to be shown from a TV.
The New Year came and we five had all seen the course again for ourselves, and one of us set about reading the document, which was difficult but very inspiring and challenging. We planned to run it during Lent this year. It was decided to run it on the Fridays of each week following the Stations of the Cross, finishing the course on the Friday before Holy Week so as not to be a distraction during Holy Week and the Liturgies. We gave Altar Talks about the course three weeks before it was due to begin.
We ran the course CaFE style with refreshments and small tables to enable small group discussion. At first the discussion did not last long as we were all growing in confidence with each other but by the 4th week nobody wanted to stop talking or go home. People were very open to the Holy Father’s message and his request to think carefully about our lifestyle and behaviour, but essentially to develop a new Spirituality about our world and Creation, certainly to rekindle a love of our Planet and all it gives us. God made our Planet as a beautiful gift for us to live on. We were asked with very thought provoking questions to reimagine our relationship with the world in which we live and all the creatures which share our Planet, and their relationship with us. Have we been as careful as we could have been or have we perhaps taken it for granted? The world is certainly not as pristine, clean and fresh as it was even 200 years ago! One of the questions we were asked was ‘What stops us from behaving more thoughtfully about our environment?’ Those taking part had the grace to be honest and of course this led to making some big decisions about our personal behaviour. This in turn enabled us to discuss how the Parish could change in order to be more environmentally aware, and our responsibility to live more in accord with the Gospel principles of Simplicity and Sustainability.
Through the course, although it was serious and challenging, we were also aware that we must not forget to celebrate – we must not be messengers of doom.
Pope Francis constantly calls us to remember that we are only responsible for ourselves and to change one thing in our life is to move in the right direction. The Pope’s first request to us all in his document is that we all recommit ourselves to saying grace before we eat, as this will remind us to thank God for His provision and to remember the poor. It is, after all, those that are already poor and already experiencing the effects of Climate Change that will suffer most from Global Warming.
All of us that took part in the course were delighted to have done so; it gave us time to think carefully about the scientific evidence and to be reminded what our Church teaches and has done so profoundly throughout the centuries, especially St Francis and the last three Popes. We were also reminded that all our desire for change must be underpinned with prayer or it will not bear fruit! People have built compost heaps, bought wormeries, changed their laundry, cleaning and toilet products to Eco friendly products and shopped more thoughtfully; also some of us have reconsidered our energy supplier.
Lots of things can be done for free, ie. one suggestion was a Parish Recipe collection for non-meat meals to accompany an evening of said meals for a taster session. It also became obvious towards the end of our course that we all need to have more information and be reliably informed about the consequences of Climate Change and what we can really do to reduce our Carbon Footprint effectively.
I would like to thank the ‘other four’: Ann, Tony, Jo and Brian who put this on and contributed to its success as they were so encouraging of the Parish to take part and set an enjoyable atmosphere where people were relaxed and comfortable to talk and be open to change. To Father Eddy for having suggested the course and to the CaFE team for creating the DVD to enable us all to assimilate the profound teaching of the Church and our Holy Father Pope Francis. For the Parishioners that took part in the course, thank you all for your attendance, your contributions and the encouragement we all gave each other to do at least one thing and start on the right road.
We now have the opportunity to speak to the Parish Council and seek a wise way forward for the Parish.
Patricia, St Peter and St Paul’s, Lincoln

Care for our Common Home