The beginning of July 2018 was an important time for the Ecological Movement of St. Francis of Assisi (REFA) in Poland.
Representatives of the movement, along with other Catholic ecologists from all over the world, participated in a papal audience. Two REFA representatives, Mr. Kasper JAKUBOWSKI and Friar Stanisław JAROMI, OFM Conv., received the Pope’s blessing to continue their activities. After their return to Poland, a new project was launched entitled “School for Leaders of Integral Ecology.”
On July 5-6, 2018, an International Conference was held at the Vatican to mark the third anniversary of the encyclical Laudato si’. The Conference was entitled, “Saving Our Common Home and the Future of Life on Earth.” The Ecological Movement of St. Francis of Assisi was one of twelve Catholic ecological movements present from all over the world. During the conference, the various movements presented their activities and projects, including the “School for Leaders of Integral Ecology.”
More than 300 conference members took part in the papal audience with Pope Francis. In his address, the Holy Father asked for new candidates for this special mission. The Pope reflected on the call that St. Francis of Assisi received in the church of San Damiano: “Go and repair my house, which, as you can see, lies in ruins.” The Pope asked that the candidates see that today, the “common home” of our planet is also in ruins. These candidates should listen with their hearts in order to hear “the increasingly desperate cries of the earth and its poor, who look for our help and concern.” They must also recognize the Pope’s project to foster an integral ecology and to reconstruct harmony in relations with God, other people and nature, while maintaining one’s own spiritual ecosystem, bringing hope to others and continuously promoting ecological conversion.
The REFA “School for Leaders of Integral Ecology.” project was inaugurated during a workshop held July 6-11, 2018, in Grzybów, Poland. Twelve adults from different parts of Poland took part (some came with their families). The workshop worked on defining what courses of action REFA will take next year. We are inviting Christians to participate in these activities in order to create a network of leaders who will promote integral ecology in Poland.