On Sunday, March 19, 2023, the Province of St. Agatha and St. Lucy in Italy (Sicily) hosted a “Laudato Sì’ Day” to raise awareness about the global ecological crisis. The event was held at the Madonnina del Lago Franciscan Oasis in Pergusa (Sicily).
Many representatives from Franciscan associations and communities across Sicily participated. The day began with a brief introductory speech from the Minister Provincial, Friar Gaspare LA BARBERA, followed by a moment of prayer using the words of the Canticle of the Creatures written by St. Francis of Assisi.
Immediately after, there was a screening of the documentary film “The Letter.” This film was produced by the Laudato Si’ Movement in partnership with Off the Fence Productions, winner of the Academy Award for Best Documentary of 2021.
This video, inspired by Pope Francis’ encyclical for the care of our common home, showed in clear and unequivocal terms, through the narration of four different protagonist voices, what is happening to the earth and to the poor due to ongoing emergencies and events, such as the climate crisis, the loss of biodiversity, the deterioration of the quality of human life and strong and growing social injustice.
After the screening, the leaders of the Laudato Si’ Movement led a discussion on what was seen and heard. This generated many comments from the participants and much food for thought. Young and old shared their views, ideas and feelings and proposed practical initiatives. This created the climate of reflection and sharing that Pope Francis desired so greatly. In fact, Pope Francis has been instrumental in establishing and renewing urgent dialogue and discussion on how we are shaping our future.
In the afternoon, the Laudato Si’ presenters explored the concept of “integral ecology.” They next invited the participants to take everything they had learned up to that point and pass it on their own local communities, because that was the only way to make an impactful and fundamental contribution. The hope is that those who participated in the event, will in turn become active in raising the consciousness of their own local communities, spreading the message of the Encyclical by promoting it within their own parishes, schools, and associations.
Finally, the day concluded with Mass presided over by Friar Gaspare.
It was a day of intensive and rich discussion that made it possible for everyone to experience one of the phrases heard during the screening of the documentary, a phrase about our sharing a common dream: “It’s like an orchestra: an orchestra works precisely because it’s diverse, each with their own contribution.”
Being mindful of the Franciscan spirituality that forms the basis of the encyclical, one realizes that all people and all things have a common origin, and that being open and fraternal with people of different histories, experiences and sensitivities shows us how all differences can be overcome, indeed, valued, so that all of us can contribute to a single purpose: the care and protection of creation, which is our common home.
Friar Rosario TERRANOVA