Laudato Si’ Circles: a source of hope and connection in India
Alice Fernandes of India
By Alice Fernandes
Laudato Si’ Animator, India
“So loud.” Along with so many others, that’s what I thought Laudato Si’ meant.
I had been involved in the fight to save the environment since the late 1990s, fighting for mangroves around Mumbai’s shores. But hearing Pope Francis’ call to praise God with all creation provided a deeper meaning to this pursuit.
Always challenging and never boring, the Laudato Si’ Animators course showed me God’s great love for creation, and I felt increased distress in man’s uncaring attitude. I knew we needed to make restitution for our sins against creation.
Feeling a deep sense of futility as I looked at the state of our common home and the near impossible task of setting things right, suddenly I realized that Pope Francis gives us courage in Laudato Si’ by concluding with a stirring message of eternal hope through God’s unfailing mercy.
“Circles” of people who pray, reflect, and work for creation are most suited to these times of restricted movement and socializing, and I knew they would provide me with the ideal platform to work in faith for the glory of the Father, the Son, and through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I knew I had to form a Laudato Si’ Circle.
To start the Circle, I decided to host a webinar, and I sent a promotional flyer to friends and family through WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram.
The first webinar, called “Laudato Si’ – An Introduction,” was a great success. God sent us 20 very positive and willing attendees who were keen to go out on a limb with the proposed Laudato Si’ Circle we now like to call “The Circle of Life.”
This could surely never have been done without God’s grace and the unfailing support of good friends. Next we held two more webinars: “Laudato Si’: Our Common Home,” for a prayer group at a neighboring parish, St. Andrew’s, and “Laudato Si’: See, Judge, Act,” which was well received by our parish, Mt. Carmel’s. Following the warm response to these webinars, our offering this month will be for a Delhi parish prayer group.
Our journey now consists of posts on social media and Zoom prayer meetings, as well as call to action meetings and online petitions as a very zealous government plans coal mines and gigantic infrastructure deals in forests and coastal waters. The government also has jailed well over 16 social activists on trumped up charges.
There’s a lot of work to be done. We pray that our determination to limit climate change and promote social justice results in mankind joining all creation in giving glory to God by the very nature of its being.
This story was adapted from the November Laudato Si’ Resource. The spiritual resource is produced monthly for Laudato Si’ Animators, Laudato Si’ Circles, and everyday Catholics to use and help them grow closer to our Creator.