Today the first day of spring marks the beginning of the celebration of the ‘Season of Creation’.

Each year from 1 September to 4 October, which is the Feast Day of St Frances of Assisi the Patron Saint of Ecology beloved by many. The Christian family unites for this worldwide celebration of prayer and action to protect our common home.

As followers of Christ from around the globe, we share a common call to care for creation. We are co-creatures, and part of all that God has made. Our wellbeing is interwoven with the wellbeing of the Earth. We rejoice in this opportunity to safeguard our common home and all beings who share it. This year, the theme for the season is ‘Listen to the Voice of Creation’. This complements the Pope’s call in his Lauda to Si goals which call us towards sustainability in the spirit of integral ecology to build a better future together.

The Psalmist declares, “The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims God’s handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge…their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the Earth, and their words to the end of the world.” (19: 1-4)

During the Season of Creation, our common prayer and action can help us listen for the voices of those who are silenced. In prayer we lament the individuals, communities, species, and ecosystems who are lost, and those whose livelihoods are threatened by habitat loss and climate change. In prayer, we centre the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor.

When his message for this year’s Season of Creation was released, the head of the Church Pope Francis asked “in the name of God” that large extractive corporations “stop destroying forests, wetlands and mountains, stop polluting rivers and seas, stop poisoning people and food.”

Four key principles for biodiversity were emphasised as Pope Francis also used his message to call on nations to halt the further collapse of the “web of life” – biodiversity – pointing to four principles:

  1. Building a clear ethical basis for the transformation we need in order to save biodiversity;
  1. Fight biodiversity loss, support its conservation and recovery, and meet people’s needs in a sustainable way;
  1. Promote global solidarity, considering, that biodiversity is a global common good that requires a shared commitment;
  1. Put people in vulnerable situations at the centre, including those most affected by biodiversity loss, such as indigenous peoples, older people and youth.

In the final week of this term we have a group of Year 9 students and staff who will be going on an immersion experience to Daly River in the Northern Territory. They will begin in Darwin where they will take part in a Welcome to Country ceremony and cultural awareness session at Nungalinya College with Traditional Owners. They will also be welcomed into the community of Nauiyu, Daly River at a mass at St Frances Church and spend time in the classrooms of St Francis Xavier Catholic School with one of our former staff members, Rebecca Westwood and her family who are living and working in the community.

We look forward to hearing what this life changing immersion experience will be like for our students and staff. Daly River is where our good friend of St Joseph’s, Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann AM lives. Miriam-Rose is an educator and artist who has shared her deep understanding of creation through the practice of Dadirri. The word, concept and spiritual practice that is Dadirri (da-did-ee) is from the Ngan’gikurunggurr and Ngen’giwumirri languages of the Aboriginal peoples of the Daly River region.

“Dadirri recognises the deep spring that is inside us. We call on it and it calls to us. This is the gift that Australia is thirsting for. It is something like what you call “contemplation”, Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann.

As a St Joseph’s community, we care called to ‘Listen to the Voice of Creation’ as we are nestled in among the surrounds of the Barwon River, Corio Bay and in view of the You Yangs. May we give thanks and continue to commit to individually making a conscious effort to mindful of our foot print on this land of the Wadawurrung people. Ensure we continue sustainable practices and to be advocates for creation with our families to bring wrap-free lunches to school and reusable water bottles and containers. Let us spend some enjoying some Dadirri time together out in our beautiful spring weather as we wish all the fathers, grand fathers and father figures in our lives, gratitude for their loving guidance and many blessings on Father’s day this weekend.

Photos thanks to Kelly Jenkins, the Sustainability Team and Enviro Service participants.