Catholic Earthcare Celebrates 20 Years with Growing Network

Earthcare JudithWritghtThe day started with lunch for 150 guests at St Mary’s College Nathalia. Participants then walked symbolically from the school to Uncle Bob’s Park, where they were welcomed to Country by Yorta Yorta man, Troy Firebrace.  

Sue Martin, Catholic Earthcare Australia’s Coordinator, shared the Earthcare Journey over 20 years. Catholic Earthcare, now a program of Caritas Australia, was founded in 2002 in response to the Bishops' Social Justice statement, A New Earth, which called for ecological conversion. Its role has evolved into developing a response to Pope Francis’ Encyclical, Laudato Si’, and the seven Laudato Si‘ Goals which emerged and were given real impetus by this year’s Bishops’ Statement Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor. Home page - Catholic Earthcare Australia
Sue brought greetings from Bishop Long, Bishops’ Committee for Justice, Ecology and Peace, whose own Diocese has taken a similar path to Sandhurst, with the Diocese joining the international platform and parishes/schools partnering with Catholic Earthcare.
Bishop Shane Mackinlay spoke of the Australia Catholic Bishops’ commitment to Laduato Si’ Action and his pride in the Diocese of Sandhurst’s response to the call to action, with more than half of schools and parishes already partnered with Earthcare. 
Bishop Shane then commissioned all Earthcare Parish/School representatives who received a Laudato Si’  Certificate and Badges and a tree. 
“Catholic Earthcare has made it easy to address the seven goals and journey towards becoming living Laudato Si’ communities”, says Richard Landels, Caritas Australia’s Advancement Director.
“The Earthcare Schools’ program began earlier but since the launching of the Laudato Si’ goals, it’s gained momentum and the newly developed Parish program has mushroomed.” 
Fr Joe Taylor, Vicar-General and Parish Priest of Shepparton explains why -- “I’m really excited about becoming an Earthcare parish. We’ve wanted to do something, and this framework gives us a way to do it”.
“Our Earthcare process is filling a need for communities across the nation who want to do something about the ‘cry of the earth and the cry of the poor’”, says Sue Martin, Earthcare Coordinator.
An Anniversary Cake was cut by Bishop Shane and Sue Martin.
If you missed the launch, you can watch it on YouTube channel