John Woodhouse on his first demo: ‘The Big One’ Climate Rally, 21st & 22nd April 2023

Representatives from Westminster Justice and Peace outside the Houses of Parliament on 21st April 2023 for ‘The Big One’ climate rally. John Woodhouse centre, with the keyboard scarf)

The Big One

By John Woodhouse, Laudato Si’ Animators UK. John is the Westminster Justice and Peace Contact for Westminster Cathedral.

How did it feel at 76 to be going on my first real demo and march? A bit daunting, but the two days I spent were fantastic and fun!

We started at St John’s Waterloo with a service of praise and lament and then we walked to the Shell building where Magda Kadziak who  leads the European Laudato Si’ Animators and had travelled from Poland read the prayer of Pope Francis from Laudato Si’. Led on by the Salvation Army band we reached Parliament Square to find thousands more protesters.

The second day I settled at the Faith Hub – I had walked 6.2 km with my stick the day before!- and Fr Joe Ryan celebrated Mass. This was very special. Fr Joe said he had waited fifty-two years for this day and he produced a copy of Laudato Si’. The Gospel was the road to Emmaus and it was noticeable how the congregation grew during the Mass.

This was a fantastic opportunity to meet twenty Animators from around the country who I had known on Zoom for two years and, in fact, I met lots of other Catholic and  Anglican friends as well. The variety of protesters was just staggering and all was well-organised and stewarded. It was good to see families taking a full part. The reason I am so committed to this cause is that I want a better world for my three grandsons. We must all do what we can!

Laudato Si’ Animators