24th May, 2-4pm, Laudato Si’ Study Session, Vaughan House

Join Colette Joyce, the Westminster Justice and Peace Co-ordinator, on this, the 7th anniversary of the publication of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’: On the Care of our Common Home for a fresh look at this prophetic teaching document on the environment.

About this event

We know there is a climate crisis and the need to change our lifestyles is urgent, but still we struggle to find common ground or workable programmes. COP26 has only taken us so far and there is much more to be done before CO27 in Egypt in November. How are we getting on as a Catholic community?

How can a re-reading of Laudato Si’ animate our efforts for change in our parishes and homes?

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Free. All welcome.

24th May – Circular Tree Walk from Westminster Cathedral

Plane Tree outside Westminster Cathedral

Join Colette Joyce, the Westminster Justice and Peace Co-ordinator, to mark the 7th Anniversary of the publication of Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si’: On the Care of Our Common Home (2015) with this wander around the scenic streets surrounding Westminster Cathedral, reflecting on some fascinating trees we will meet along the way.

About this event

Trees are essential to life on earth as we know it. They bind soil, remove carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen, as well as providing a home for many species from birds to insects to squirrels.

This walk will include reflections on the importance of trees within the Christian tradition and invite contemplation of some of the many beautiful trees within easy walking distance of Westminster Cathedral.

Along the way we will consider, too, the significance we attach to trees – from the celebratory decoration of the Christmas tree to the solemn prayer before the wood of the cross.

Families and children welcome.

Meet outside Westminster Cathedral.

We will return to the Cathedral a little before 12noon or there is the option to leave the Walk in St James’ Park.

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Advance registration helps us to meet health and safety requirements. Thank you.

Laudato Si’ Week: 22nd-29th May 2022

More prayers for Laudato Si’ Week

Laudato Si’ Week is being celebrated during 22nd – 29th May. It reminds us of our duty towards and celebration of creation. To learn more and to get involved, check out the links.
To let us know what is happening in your parish please email Colette Joyce at justiceandpeace@rcdow.org.uk

The Laudato Si’ Encyclical, which was published in 2015, is a letter to the world from Pope Francis. In it he calls for dialogue and action concerning the care of what he calls “our common home”, and he urges all of us to take our duty to the natural environment, to animals and to poor people seriously. Click here to read or download a copy

The Laudato Si’ Movement (LSM) was formed as a result of the Encyclical. Under the umbrella of the Encyclical, it aims to activate the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics to tackle the climate and environmental crises. To educate about and enable participation in this undertaking, LSM initiated an online Course. Click here to visit their website

The Laudato Si’ Animators Course was first opened in July 2020 to a world-wide audience of potential activists. The Course teaches how the Laudato Si’ (LS) Encyclical fits into Catholic Social Teaching, describes the causes and consequences of climate change and encourages a personal ecological conversion. Participants are encouraged to be environmentally active in their parishes and in the wider community. Click here for more details of the course

Laudato Si’ Animators are people who have completed the Course and then got together for mutual support, discussions, ideas and actions. We have a Network of around 90 Animators and green activists, covering the 22 Dioceses of England and Wales. Their aim? Simply to spread the message of the Encyclical throughout the Catholic Church, in an effort to educate about the environmental crisis and to inspire action which will help to combat the dire situation. https://www.facebook.com/LSIUK

The Laudato Si’ Action Platform has been established by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, in response to the Encyclical. It is designed to run for 7 years, encompasses 7 Sectors and has 7 general goals. We will all fit into one or another of the Sectors. The 7 Goals are designed to guide our actions. Under each general goal heading, actions are suggested for us to consider which will reduce our environmental footprint. Visit the Laudato Si’ Action Platform


Tuesday 24th May, 10am-12noon: Circular Tree Walk from Westminster Cathedral – Join Colette Joyce, the Westminster Justice and Peace Co-ordinator, for this walk exploring trees in the vicinity of Westminster Cathedral to mark the 7th Anniversary of the publication of Laudato Si’. All welcome. Free. Book with Eventbrite

Tuesday 24th May, 2.00-4.00pm: Laudato Si’ Study Session at Vaughan House, 46 Francis Street (behind Westminster Cathedral), London, SW1P 1QN – Join Colette Joyce, Westminster Justice and Peace Co-ordinator, for a study session on ‘Laudato- Si’ on the seventh anniversary of its publication. All welcome. Free. Book with Eventbrite

Southern Dioceses Environment Network – supportive monthly Monday lunchtime online meetings on the second Monday of the month for Catholics and our friends who are committed to the care of creation. More details and how to join

All Creatures Great and Small – Reflecting on Biodiversity: Talks by John Paul de Quay and Mary Colwell

‘Biodiversity’ was the theme for the May meeting of the Southern Dioceses Environment Network on Monday 9th May 2022.

John Paul de Quay

Guest speaker John Paul de Quay from the Journey to 2030 project spoke on the need to safeguard nature to ensure the future and diversity of all life on earth which is essential for the health, wellbeing and prosperity of humanity.

What is biodiversity? It is the diversity of all living things which includes genetic diversity within and between species, and of ecosystems. This ensures the stability of the natural world.

Evidence shows that there has been on average 68% decrease in wildlife population sizes between 1970-2016 with some areas such as South America being affected more. Why is this happening? Changes in land due to farming, over-fishing, pollution and climate change. Loss of biodiversity happens due to these constraints on species.

Laudato Si’ states that we are dust of the Earth, as we breathe air and need water, nothing is indifferent to us. In Acts 6:26 it shows that nature provides everything we need to survive, not only healthy air and water, but our happiness and wellbeing. Throughout scripture nature is continually mentioned showing God’s immense care for biodiversity. If we hold the attitude that we are more important than nature, we have forgotten that we are ‘dust of the earth’. This connection with faith is essential and it is important to spread this knowledge especially in schools to give confidence that we can do something to change the situation.

Mary Colwell

We were also very fortunate to be joined by the environmentalist, Mary Colwell. Mary has been campaigning for 11 years for a UK GCSE in natural history which has now been agreed upon and is set to take effect in 2025. This is essential so children are able to learn about how wildlife relates to us, to fall in love with nature again, to encourage them to make the right decisions in the future.

She runs a charity called Curlew Action which aims to help protect the curlew population, which is a flagship species for conservation.

She has now begun writing her 4th book.

See http://www.curlewmedia.com/ for more information.

Southern Dioceses Environment Network

The next meeting takes place online on Monday, 13th June 2022, 12.45-2.00pm, with the theme ‘Sustainable Summers’

Southern Dioceses Environment Network

World Fair Trade Day – Saturday 14th May 2022

Source: World Fair Trade Organisation

Saturday 14th May is World Fair Trade Day

This year’s theme is “Climate Justice Now #LetsDoItFair”

Climate ambitions must involve people. Like it or not, climate change is happening now and already affecting communities and livelihoods. Tackling the climate crisis is not just an ecological necessity, but also a social justice issue and a matter of survival for the worst affected who are facing extreme weather conditions and perennial calamities.

We need Climate Justice. The aim of Climate Justice is to deliver fair, inclusive and sustainable solutions to people who are suffering the effects of the climate crisis while addressing the root causes of climate change. 

10 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

  1. Walk, Cycle or Use Public Transport
  2. Choose Products with Recyclable or Compostable Packaging
  3. Reduce, Recycle and Reuse
  4. Invest in Sustainable Clothing
  5. Home Composting
  6. Consider your Meat Consumption
  7. Consume Locally Grown and in Season Food
  8. Plant Trees
  9. Choose Organic
  10. Use Renewable Energy

Laudato Si’ Study Session 24th May – 7th anniversary of publication!

Laudato Si' Study Session - 7th anniversary of publication!

Hosted by Westminster Justice and Peace Commission

Free entry, to register please visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/laudato-si-study-session-7th-anniversary-of-publication-tickets-329853740417

When: Tue, 24 May 2022, 14:00 – 16:00 BST

Where: Vaughan House, 46 Francis Street, London, SW1P1QN

About this event

Join Colette Joyce, Westminster Justice and Peace Co-ordinator, for a study session on ‘Laudato- Si’ on the seventh anniversary of its publication.

This is the second encyclical of Pope Francis entitled ‘care for our common home’ and the source of contemporary Catholic teaching on the environment. We are all aware of the ever growing climate crisis, and the urgent need to make changes to our lifestyles, but is there still a lack of clear direction or workable programmes to follow? There is clearly a lot of work to be done before COP-27 in Egypt this November.

This session will explore what progress we have made as a Catholic community, with the hope that a re-reading of Laudato Si will give us some further encouragement and direction to make changes within our parishes and homes.

All Creatures Great and Small: Reflecting on Biodiversity

Curlew study in pen, Adam Entwistle http://www.curlewmedia.com/what-is-a-curlew

Ahead of the next Southern Dioceses Environment Network meeting on Monday 9th May, Westminster Justice and Peace Communications Volunteer, Amy Smith, writes her reflections on the chosen theme of ‘Biodiversity’:

Biodiversity, the variety of life on Earth, is essential for the future of humanity. Climate justice i.e. the recognition of our shared responsibility to try to tackle the climate crisis is integral to our values at ‘Justice and Peace’ where we strive to protect our planet and those that inhabit it.

Climate change due to our burning of fossil fuels, is already happening and will only get worse if more actions aren’t taken; this is a huge threat to the biodiversity of our planet. Issues that threaten peace can also impact on biodiversity for example by affecting food production.  

The complex ecosystems that make up our planet are what enables humans to survive and thrive; we need fresh water, clean air, and plants and animals for food. Different animals and plants help to maintain a habitat that stable and sustainable. Due to the effects of an ever- warming planet an increasing number of plants and animals are facing the threat of extinction, currently as many as 27%. This is due to loss of habitats, food production, increased rates of disease and changes in physiology and behaviour. The decline of species can even accelerate climate change further. Any species that are affected can threaten their entire food chain.  

The effect of climate change on biodiversity can be seen prominently in the UK Curlew population, which are now seen as a flagship species in conservation education. Their population has halved over the last 20 years. They are useful bio-indicators as they are easy to spot and count and are a good reflection on less visible species and the health of an ecosystem. Their protection is critical for plant diversity and ecological stability.  

We continue to pray for The UN Biodiversity Conference, COP15, which is set to happen in Kunming, China, later this year, although the date has already been postponed several times. It will gather governments from around the world to agree to new goals to protect our natural world over the next decade.  

The Southern Dioceses Environment Network will discuss biodiversity at its next monthly meeting on Monday 9th May, 12.45-2.00pm online.


Monday 9th May, 12.45-2.00pm

Guest Speakers: John Paul de Quay (Journey to 2030) & Mary Colwell (Curlew Media)

Southern Dioceses Environment Network

Places still available on Caritas Westminster ‘Stepping Stones: Dignified Work Champions’ free online training programme for volunteers in outreach projects – starts Monday 16 May 2022, 10am-12noon

The Upper Room and Caritas Westminster are delighted to be working in partnership to deliver a new FREE online programme for volunteers in outreach projects interested to become Dignified Work Champions.  Called ‘Stepping Stones’, it will enable participants to learn how to address issues surrounding employability among people experiencing homelessness or hardship, and to take the lessons back to their parishes, schools and communities. 

The Upper Room has been working with people experiencing homelessness and other disadvantaged groups in West London for over 30 years. They will be working with volunteers to share their knowledge and experience to enable practical and meaningful interactions with beneficiaries. This will include common simple fixes, understanding the benefits system and Universal Credit, CV preparation and interview practice, establishing where you can access funding for training and vocational qualifications among a number of other topics. Throughout the course there will be peer support sessions to consolidate any learning and understand better what works in the real world.

Sessions will be delivered online each month over a period of 12 months and will include the chance to feedback and ask questions, and to lean on the experience of The Upper Room’s caseworkers.

The course will start on Monday16th May 2022 – 10am -12noon.

If you are interested in joining please email Meriel Woodward, Caritas Westminster Assistant Director: merielwoodward@rcdow.org.uk

Caritas Westminster

The Upper Room

Racial Justice: Where are we now? Update and Discussion with Westminster Justice & Peace – 25 May 2022, 1:00pm – 3:00pm

Join Westminster Justice and Peace for a conversation about tackling racism and promoting racial justice, equality and diversity.

This event will take place in person at Vaughan House, 46 Francis St, London SW1P 1QN, and is open to anyone in the Diocese of Westminster who would like to take part.

Colette Joyce (Westminster Justice & Peace Co-ordinator), Elaine Arundell (Westminster Education Service Primary RE Adviser), Fr Richard Nesbitt (Parish Priest, White City) and Elizabeth Uwalaka (Parishioner, White City) will facilitate this conversation updating participants on initiatives that have taken place in the Diocese in the two years since the murder of George Floyd in the US brought racial justice issues to greater worldwide prominence.

Join us for discussion on the question: what more needs to be done?

Book with Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/330195522697

To find out more about the racial justice work being facilitated for schools by the Diocese of Westminster Education Service please visit their website here: Diocese of Westminster Education Service

Racial Justice, Equality and Diversity Mission Statement

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)

The above verse, taken from the Gospel of John, is central to Westminster Diocese’s mission to promote racial justice, equality and diversity.  The command to love our neighbour extends to all human beings irrespective of race, ethnicity, culture, or background.  As an expression of that love, we envision a vibrant community with full equality, that embraces diversity and allows for equality of opportunity for all. We aim to challenge bias, discrimination or stereotyping that can lead to racial injustice or inequality and will work to embed anti-racist practice into all areas of our work. We aim to address the cumulative effects of past and present inequities to eliminate disparities and enable all our members to flourish. We believe that this can be achieved through the education of the whole person throughout the whole curriculum with Christ at the centre. 

As servants of Christ, we assert the primacy of love, the uniqueness of the person, the importance of solidarity, the pursuit of academic excellence and our commitment to equality, social justice and the common good as the visible fruits of the faith. The Gospel is at the heart of the work of the Diocese and we serve one another in the knowledge that we only have one teacher, Jesus who prayed that we “may be one” (John 17:11).    

Racial Justice, Equality and Diversity Mission Statement, Diocese of Westminster Education Service