We would particularly like to invite people to participate in the gathering to welcome Little Amal to Westminster Cathedral (on Monday 25th October, 2-3pm) where we will be praying for all refugees, especially unaccompanied children who are making their way towards this country.
There is also a Candle-lit Procession (Monday 1st November, 6pm) and Day of Global Action Climate Rally (6th November, 11am), both during COP26, where we have one last chance to influence our politicians and business leaders during this important decision-making moment for the future of our planet.
See the newsletter for all the details about these events and many more ways to contribute to peace and justice activity in the Diocese.
Amidst all our current difficulties and the challenges that face us at the start of this new academic year, we hope you will be able to take some time to celebrate and enjoy the wonderous gift to us that is God’s creation – our planet, all its treasures, plants, animals, each other and life itself…
This month’s newsletter includes links to resources and events that we hope will be helpful during this Season, as well as the usual Diary Dates for many other justice activities in the coming term.
1) The Diocese of Westminster has published a commitment to do its utmost to become carbon neutral by 2030 in its parishes and curial buildings. It has also expressed its commitment to working with schools to encourage them to follow the same path.
The Diocesan plan focuses on 4 pillars:
i) Clean Energy Sources – purchasing gas and electricity from green suppliers. ii) Investment Policy – promoting a path to decarbonisation. iii) Reducing Carbon Emissions – from energy usage in parishes and diocesan buildings. iv) Generating Clean Energy.
The announcement, made on 26th July 2021, is accompanied by more detail on the website here:
and a short, six-minute video from Cardinal Vincent encouraging every parish, school and household to play their part:
2) We welcome the Young Christian Climate Network (YCCN) Relay to Westminster Cathedral on Friday 6th August 2021 for a Climate Prayer Service at 3.30pm.
The service is preceded by lunch and a blessing at Farm Street Church, Mayfair, at 1pm, followed by a walk to Westminster Cathedral as part of the Relay. The route will take us through Berkeley Square, Green Park, St James Park and past Buckingham Place as a witness to climate justice and a call for action to our political and business leaders ahead of the G7 in Glasgow in November. All welcome to join us and show your support. Sign up with Eventbrite to help us know numbers in advance:
Read about Three Actions for the Summer of Climate Justice:
1) As part of CAFOD’s G7 Youth Delegation, Caitlin Boyle, Caritas Westminster’s Information Officer, spent the weekend 11-13 June in Cornwall.
Caitlin writes: For as long as I can remember, I have been interested in campaigning for social justice, a key factor in why I wanted to work for Caritas Westminster, the social action agency of the Diocese of Westminster. We arrived in Cornwall on Thursday evening, and hosted an interfaith service at Truro Cathedral … read full article on the Caritas website
2) The Young Christian Climate Network (YCCN) is an action-focused community of young Christians in the UK aged 18-30, from different denominations, choosing to follow Jesus in the pursuit of climate justice.The YCCN has organised a 1,000+ mile relay pilgrimage from Carbis Bay in Cornwall, where the G7 summit took place, up to Glasgow, where COP26 will be meeting in November. The walkers want to see systematic change on a global and a local scale.
Molly Clarke, who walked the first day, said: “Our Relay is about rising to the moment. This year, with COP26 happening on our doorstep, is an opportunity like no other to call for change. Taking part in our pilgrimage was the most wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I urge everyone to get involved…” read full article on Independent Catholic News website
3) Care of Creation Briefings take place online 1.00-1.45pm every Monday and will continue in the lead-up to the UN Climate Conference COP26 in Glasgow, 1-12 November 2021.
Colette Joyce and Nali Nathan report: Passionate social justice activists from across London and the South-East of England have been coming together on Zoom every Monday lunchtime in 2021 to pray, share ideas, and take unified action for Climate Justice. They discuss all aspects of Care of Creation including preventing habitat loss, protecting biodiversity, eliminating waste, promoting sustainable development, global racial justice, Live Simply Parishes, Journey to 2030, communicating with clergy, parishioners and bishops, and building ecumenical and interfaith partnerships. The Monday Briefings bring together Catholics from five dioceses – Arundel & Brighton, Brentwood, Portsmouth, Southwark and Westminster… read full report on the Westminster Justice & Peace Commission website
As we approach a second summer since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, our thoughts are turning frequently to the kind of world into which we will emerge. Among the many opportunities for deeper reflection and action listed in the Diary Dates of the E-Bulletin, you will also find an invitation to attend the next Westminster Social Justice and Peace Forum for sharing and discussion on the world of work.
Bishop Nicholas Hudson writes:
‘“Life to the full” is the message and aspiration of this Easter time. Human flourishing is at the heart of the Catholic Vision of Work… We seek, in the next Social Justice & Peace Forum, to hold this Catholic Vision of Work in dialogue with our own experience of how work looks to have been altered by these last fourteen months of Pandemic, how we anticipate it looking in the future… ‘
This month’s E-Bulletin includes details of the next Westminster Social Justice and Peace Forum on Saturday 22nd May, which will focus on issues of work and unemployment facing us as we begin to emerge, we hope, from pandemic and lockdown. It is especially apt that we contemplate a Catholic Vision of Work during this year dedicated to St Joseph, patron saint of workers.
Danica Marcos, Communications and Outreach Volunteer for Westminster Justice & Peace writes the introduction to this month’s E-Bulletin, reflecting on the question ‘What is justice and peace?’
You cannot work for justice without disrupting the peace. Peace is not just the absence of war. It is the lack of oppression and turmoil. True peace cannot be achieved whilst there is still injustice in the world. We cannot remain quiet whilst witnessing injustice, that will not help facilitate peace. We must find the courage to speak out for those who are disadvantaged, even if it means facing a backlash. We must be brave and join those who do not have the luxury to stay silent…
Welcome to the first Justice & Peace E-bulletin of 2021.
We begin a new year with so many uncertainties and challenges. We are right in the midst of this dreadful pandemic which is changing so much of the way we live our lives. Our parish communities will each have their own stories of those who are suffering in different ways: physical illness, bereavements, loneliness, depression, lost jobs, increased poverty and destitution, and the inability to come together in person as a parish community. It’s a tough time and is likely to continue to be so for months ahead.
And yet there are so many heroic stories too of living out faith in sacrificial service of those who are victims of the pandemic, often by society forgotten, through the food banks, homeless services, and the different groups serving and advocating for the vast numbers of newly poor here on our streets. The Gospel of Justice and Peace has certainly been proclaimed throughout these last months in our communities and on our streets. If we can say there are graces of this dreadful time they are clearly visible in the social action and advocacy work going on around the Diocese. Here Justice and Peace Westminster has worked closely alongside Caritas Westminster marrying advocacy and action and so bringing to life the Church’s social conscience and mission.
While so much of the work of Justice & Peace has rightly focussed on these immediate and pressing needs the Commission, sub-committees and parish groups have addressed other issues of ongoing importance. In the wake of Black Lives Matter we have seen great motivation in addressing issues of racial justice in parishes, in the Church and society. Racial Justice Sunday on January 31st will be an opportunity to focus on this important issue. Similarly, Peace Sunday, celebrated on January 17th, will challenge us to think outside of our domestic borders to be in solidarity with those overseas ravaged by war and conflict and to examine our own complicity there through passive support of weapons manufacture and investment.
In a similar vein Pope Francis’ call to care for creation will continue to be echoed through how we promote environmentally friendly projects and policies and raise awareness of green issues, all leading up to a diocesan group going to COP 26 in November.
As we begin this new year of such uncertainty and challenge may we make a new commitment to allow the Gospel of justice and peace to take root in all our communities and respond to the Holy Father’s call on New Year’s Day when he encouraged all of us to work for a peace “sustained with patient and respectful dialogue” and “constructed with an open collaboration with truth and justice,” so 2021 may be “a year of peace, a year of hope.” It is up to everyone, Pope Francis says to take “by the hand those who need a comforting word, a tender gesture,” he said, and if “we begin to be in peace with ourselves,” it will spread to “those who are near us.”
May the God of Peace be with you and your loved ones at the start of this new year.
Fr Dominic Chair, Justice & Peace Commission, Diocese of Westminster