Fr Richard Nesbitt, Parish Priest, Our Lady of Fatima, White City. Source: Independent Catholic News
Artist Martin Jarvis has installed his very powerful ‘The Crucified Planet’ artwork onto the large wooden cross outside our parish of Our Lady of Fatima in White City, and also written a wonderful reflection on it which I have put on the front of this weekend’s newsletter. In the photo, Martin is on the right and I am beside him.
Pope Francis invited the Church around the world to celebrate September 1st as a special Care for Creation Day of Prayer. And then to mark the time from this date up until October 4th, the feast day of St Francis of Assisi, as a ‘Season of Creation’ when we reflect on and put into action Pope Francis’ call in his encyclical letter, Laudato Si’ that we “hear and respond to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor.” The new piece of artwork will help us with this.
Here the artist, Martin Jarvis, explains the ideas behind this powerful image:
“The intention of this installation is to awaken us to the reality of climate change and environmental injustice for which we are responsible both personally and through the systems we use. I see that we humans have become lost and detached from the interconnectedness of everything. We need to understand that Jesus is the Universal Christ who inhabits all of creation, all matter and all space and time. When we realise this, the whole world becomes sacred and we feel the pain of all the terrible things we are doing to our beautiful planet and home and its inhabitants who are our kin (not just the two-legged ones). Like St Francis and Pope Francis we can, and need to, see them as sisters and brothers. We live in the ‘Kin-dom of God.’
As we see Christ in the whole planet we see that we are crucifying Him again by our ignorance and callous disregard for the interconnectedness of all creation. Many, in our western society in particular, have been asleep to the looming climate crisis and because of all the instant gratification and distraction offered by consumerism and the accelerated pace of life, have become lost and detached from the slower rhythms of nature. Therefore, we have been called to wake up, return and reconnect. These are perhaps more accessible words than repentance and healing for those who do not share our faith. My hope is that this is a piece of art which will speak to everyone in the local community.
Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’, in which he addresses all these issues, has been a great inspiration to many people, Catholic and non-Catholic. Many see the mess but don’t know what to do about it. We all must do what we can in our own lives to address this crisis, but many of our problems stem from the destructive systems we humans have come to rely on, and it is those systems that must change if we are to survive. That is largely the responsibility of governments and businesses. We have to challenge them in whatever way we can to do the right thing. We must be prepared for change which will demand sacrifice.
Originally this installation was conceived as a Lenten project in a different parish. The Lord has shown a different time and place for this project and I am glad to be doing this for Fr Richard and the parish of Our Lady of Fatima and its neighbourhood here in White City, especially in this time leading up to the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference in November in Glasgow. I hope that this powerful image will give you food for thought and prayer as well as challenge you to act and to play your part in caring for our common home, our beautiful planet Earth.”
Our Lady of Fatima’s, White City – www.ourladyoffatima.org.uk/