In a tradition reaching back to 1940, the Australian Catholic Bishops release a major social justice statement each year. Such statements encourage Catholic communities, such as St Joseph’s College, to reflect and act on social, economic and ecological issues.

In the not too distant past Australia has experienced the millennium drought, the 2019-2020 bushfire season, the 2021 Eastern Australian floods and of course we are still living in the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week the UN released a climate change report that was labeled a “code red for humanity” where rapid action was called to cut greenhouse gas emissions to prevent rising temperatures for our Earth. As such the 2021-22 Social Justice Statement is aptly titled “Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor” with a focus on inspiring us to care for creation while responding to the needs of the disadvantaged and excluded. Pope Francis highlights that social, economic, and ecological issues can only be effectively addressed in an integral way.

Ultimately the Bishops’ Social Justice statement encourages us to respond to Pope Francis’ invitation to journey towards total ecological sustainability guided by seven Laudato Si’ Goals. Laudato Si was the second encyclical written by Pope Francis, which critiqued consumerism and irresponsible development, raised awareness of environmental degradation and global warming, and called all people of the world to take "swift and unified global action.”

The seven goals are

  • response to the cry of the earth
  • response to the cry of the poor
  • ecological economics
  • sustainable lifestyles
  • ecological spirituality
  • ecological education
  • community engagement
  • participatory action.

How can we as a St Joseph College community work towards these seven goals? Our Service Learning initiative Mac & Joe's calls for community engagement and participatory action. Numerous sustainability events, coordinated by our Sustainability Coordinator, are offered that respond to the cry of the earth and ecological engagement. As a Catholic community we are certainly trying but still need to do ALOT more if we want to prevent the code red for humanity.

Wan-Yaari Cultural Strengthening Program

Last Friday our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students participated in the Wan-Yaari Cultural Strengthening Program. The session focused on First Nations Culture with great speakers from different backgrounds and different work roles. They are leaders and mentors for our boys. The program was led by Lowell Hunter Nyul Nyul Saltwater Man/Founder, Artist and Creative Director Salty One with guest speaker Troy Benjamin from ‘Really Good Radio” who has his own Podcast. The boys listened, connected and asked questions.